Cryptojacking Malware Turns Government Websites Into Mining Rigs

bitcoin

Over 5,000 websites, including the UK Student Loans Company, the United States Courts page, and some English council’s sites, were infected with the malware known as Coinhive, to hijack the processing power of personal electronic devices in order to mine cryptocurrency.

According to the Guardian “The cryptojacking script was inserted into website codes through BrowseAloud, a popular plugin that helps blind and partially-sighted people access the web.” Hacking of personal computers for mining purposes has increased with the uptick in cryptocurrency trading due to Bitcoin hitting the $19,000 mark in December.

Security researcher Scott Helme stated that “This type of attack isn’t new – but this is the biggest I’ve seen. A single company being hacked has meant thousands of sites impacted across the UK, Ireland and the United States. Someone just messaged me to say their local government website in Australia is using the software as well.”

BrowseAloud’s creators at Texthelp have disabled BrowseAloud so that it can investigate the malware.

 

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Author: Luke Henderson

Since joining the Libertarian Party in 2016 (after discovering Gary Johnson as a disaffected Bernie Sanders supporter), Luke Henderson has been active in the liberty movement through journalism, and political activism. At the beginning of 2017, Luke had his first piece of writing published by Being Libertarian and quickly became a contributor to the libertarian news site, The Libertarian Vindicator. Through the Vindicator, Luke discovered his passion for addressing critics of the philosophy and bringing together different factions of liberty lovers which compelled him to become an editor for The Libertarian Coalition, a forum dedicated to an open-minded discussion of libertarian ideas from all walks. After many guest contributions to Being Libertarian, Luke was asked to join the website as a contributor, where he writes his column Scoring For Liberty, which discusses sports, politics, and economics from a libertarian lens, and his Educator series that seeks to strengthen libertarian’s understanding of educational techniques and policy to better arguments against public education. Luke is one of the District 1 Executive Committeemen for the Missouri Libertarian party, and the founder of the Missouri Chapter of the Libertarian Positivity Caucus. Outside of politics, Luke is a paraprofessional for the Special School District of St. Louis, a musician, composer, and a loving husband and father.

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