While the Indian government swings from outright denial to gradual acceptance and the Reserve Bank of India states that “cryptocurrencies are not legal”, it seems that hackers are having the last laugh.
According to an analysis carried out by security researchers, government websites of states/districts such as Andhra Pradesh, Tirupati are more prone to cryptojacking.
Cryptojacking is a process wherein a hacker or a bad actor installs a malicious malware which will be used to mine cryptocurrencies (such as Monero). Monero is one of the most common cryptocurrencies that is mined by hackers.
A security researcher, Indrajeet Bhuyan told news portal Economic Times (ET), “Hackers target government websites for mining cryptocurrency because those websites get high traffic and mostly people trust them. Earlier, we saw a lot of government websites getting defaced (hacked). Now, injecting cryptojackers is more fashionable as the hacker can make money.”
The portal reported that the vulnerabilities were first spotted by a trio from Guwahati-based security research company, which includes Bhuyan, Anish Sarma, Shakil Ahmed.
According to the researchers, the cryptojacking seemed to have been possible due to the fact that almost 119 Indian states’ website run on the Coinhive script.
This is not the first time news reports have talked about Monero being mined on websites. A few months ago, reports emerged that Apple had found malwares that mined the cryptocurrency.
Malwarebytes Labs had published a blogpost stating that the software was discovered when a Mac user observed that a particular process named “mshelper” was consuming unnecessarily large amount of CPU power most of the time. It used to appear at high levels in CPU section of Activity Monitor. The thing that it was a malware became clear when user tried installing BitDefender – the “mshelper” process deleted it. User also tried installing Malwarebytes to fix this issue, but that also didn’t help.
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