As if popular websites trying to sneak cryptocurrency mining scripts wasn’t enough, we’re now seeing malware that hijacks a PC’s resources to mine for cryptocurrencies spread rapidly. According to a report, some government websites of the United States and the United Kingdom were recently infected with malware that causes web browsers to secretly mine the Monero digital currency. The websites remained infected with the malware for several hours before it was removed.
The malware was spread through a compromised version of a popular website plugin called Browsealoud. It reads out webpages for blind and partially-sighted people. This compromised plugin was installed on more than 4,200 websites including those belonging to the health services of the UK and the U.S. government’s court system.
The full list of affected websites is available here. The websites remained online for several hours with this malware actively mining Monero for the people behind this attack. Given the scale of this intrusion, they might have been able to make a pretty penny during this time.
Texthelp, the British company that developed this plugin, confirmed that it has removed the Browsealoud code from the internet as it investigates the matter. This means that the mining operation has now been shut down. The company has also reiterated that no customer data has been accessed or lost in this entire episode.
With malware such as thing becoming increasingly popular, no wonder web browsers have started building native cryptocurrency script blockers to ensure that users don’t inadvertently give access to their PC’s resources to someone looking to make a quick buck.
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