Here is one of the main reasons why not all of us are jumping on the cryptocurrency bandwagon nor are we readily joining its fan club.
One word, ladies, and gentlemen: hackers!
For the last few years, we heard of hackers using their “skills” and “talents” to help catch the bad guys such as dirty politicians, abusers, and thieves but as of now, that has been shadowed by the mal-hackers who are now looking to steal cryptocurrencies and the way it is being done is very interesting.
How is it being done?
Simple. By infecting a user’s computer with malware dubbed Coinhive that will mine cryptocurrency unbeknownst to the user!
So far, there has been almost five thousand websites that have fallen prey to such nefarious activities. These websites include government web pages in the United Kingdom, Australia and United States of America such the US Courts site and the General Medical Council, just to name a few.
How does the malware work?
There is a weakness—so to speak—in the code of the most used browser plug-in called Browsealoud which turns website text into audio for those whose eyesight may be compromised. The plug-in has been taken down.
Mr. Martin McKay, CTO, and Data Security Officer said;
“In light of other recent cyber attacks all over the world, we have been preparing for such an incident for the last year and our data security action plan was actioned straight away.”
The truth is this: government websites are at risk for cyber attacks.
“This is really easy to prevent and I’m disappointed that government organizations have not taken the incredibly easy steps available to them to stop this from happening,” says Mr. Scott Helme.
The ICO took its website down for a while after the story broke about the malware.
“We are aware of the issue and are working to resolve it. We have taken our website down as a precautionary measure whilst this is done.” –ICO.
Here is a statement from the National Cyber Security Centre: “NCSC technical experts are examining data involving incidents of malware being used to illegally mine cryptocurrency.
“The affected service has been taken offline, largely mitigating the issue. Government websites continue to operate securely.
“At this stage, there is nothing to suggest that members of the public are at risk.”
It also stated that the happenings of malware being utilized to illegally mine cryptocurrency is being investigated by the NCSC’s technical experts.