Internet security provider and research lab McAfee Labs has uncovered new malware which secretly uses consumer devices to mine Monero (XMR), a blog post confirmed Nov. 12.
Dubbed “WebCobra” and originating from Russia, the latest threat downloads one of two mining clients and uses the processor power of an infected device to generate coins for the perpetrators.
Displaying the more “classic” behavior of so-called “cryptojacker” malware, WebCobra runs almost without a trace, McAfee Labs says, the only noticeable difference for the end user being reduced hardware performance.
“Coin mining malware is difficult to detect. Once a machine is compromised, a malicious app runs silently in the background with just one sign: performance degradation,” researchers write, adding:
“As the malware increases power consumption, the machine slows down, leaving the owner with a headache and an unwelcome bill.”
As Cointelegraph previously reported, instances of such malware have shot up almost 500 percent in 2018, leading commentators to warn of an epidemic. Monero, as a cryptocurrency focused on privacy and anonymity, was reported as forming the preferred target for miners.
Last month, Google announced it would remove all extensions containing obfuscated code from its Chrome Web Store amidst efforts to combat covert crypto mining among other policy violations.