SophosLabs has just released a report on a new way that crooks are distributing a strain of malware that makes money by “borrowing” your computer to mine a new sort of cryptocurrency.
A few years ago, cryptocoin mining was a popular pastime. Cryptocurrencies work by making participants perform huge numbers of cryptographic calculations until they get lucky and “mine” a coin. The more computers you could call upon, the better your chance of paydirt.
So, numerous threats appeared that used infected computers to mine cryptocurrencies at the expense of the victim. Mining coins can burn through a lot of electricity to power the computers in use, so infecting someone else’s computer provided the attacker with free CPU resources from each infected system, which would deliver any rewards from the mining operations into the attacker’s wallet.