Posted 2 years ago | by Ben Armstrong
Microsoft to Combat Crypto Mining Malware
Microsoft is releasing a new Edge browser to protect users from unintentionally downloading crypto mining scripts and block this type of malware. There is a lot of money being made by bad actors, and it is necessary to take precautions when online.
Crypto mining malware includes software programs and malware components programmed to seize a computer’s resources and use them for cryptocurrency mining without the computer owner’s consent. It is unlikely that this form of malware will damage a computer, but it will degrade the performance of the machine.
Aware of “the increasing threat of cryptocurrency miners,” Microsoft recently released the first full version of its chromium-based browser Microsoft Edge, which has been designed to block this type of malicious script with several design improvements.
Time for Microsoft to Take Cryptos Seriously
For instance, new security features to protect users from automatically downloading unwanted apps that harm a user’s PC like adware and other malicious programs.
Don Sharp, who writes for Windows Report, explains:
"Microsoft Edge users will soon be able to navigate the web without the risk of unintentionally downloading crypto miners. This feature targets ‘less reputable’ sources that infect sites or online ads with crypto-mining code, which executes stealthily after loading in the victim’s browser."
Microsoft Principal Program Manager Eric Lawrence left a tweet that claimed that the new Microsoft Edge blocker will be superior to the cloud-based anti-phishing and anti-malware SmartScreen and SafeBrowsing blockers:
Base SmartScreen and SafeBrowsing both block malware. The feature shown here goes further by optionally blocking downloads that contain potentially unwanted (but not technically malware) code-- think a utility app that also bundles in a crypto miner or notification spammer.
— Eric Lawrence ? (@ericlaw) January 31, 2020
Cryptos are Going Mainstream
Crypto mining attacks have been on the rise for several years and cloud infrastructure will likely be a big target for cryptomining attacks this year. Cyberattacks involving crypto mining also threaten the whole cyber spectrum.
More recently we reported on cybercriminals installing a Monero cryptocurrency mining malware in a wallpaper of the late basketball superstar Kobe Bryant by Microsoft’s security intelligence. CoinHive is mentioned as an in-browser crypto mining program that hackers used to prefer to mine Monero coins maliciously.
Besides welcoming Edge’s new security features, Sharp warns Windows 10 PC users:
"While the ability of Edge to detect and thwart crypto miners is welcome, users should still watch out for non-browser-based ways to infect a Windows 10 PC with such code."
The growing popularity of cryptos is making the infrastructure that supports them a internet-wide issue.
It is vital that bad actors that are only looking for fast money don't give cryptos a bad name. That said, these kinds of malware do demonstrate how a crypto network can be resilient to heavy-handed regulations that try to deprive the global community from honest digital money.