There have been quite a few different security woes recently in the world of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Criminals always seem to come up with new ways to trick Bitcoin users into giving up account credentials or access to funding. Over in Australia, one such threat was identified earlier this week. Criminals figured out how to use a text message to hijack a mobile phone’s resources in order to mine cryptocurrency. It’s a very disturbing development that could have major consequences.
Using Mobile Phones to Mine Bitcoin?
Most people who have kept tabs on developments in the world of Bitcoin will know that traditional computers aren’t all that powerful. More specifically, the mining process associated with Bitcoin requires dedicated hardware, known as ASIC miners. While using a computer to mine is still possible, the profits generated from doing so are negligible at best. Using mobile phones for this specific purpose is a whole other story.
More specifically, a mobile phone is a pretty powerful device in its own regard. For a lot of consumers, mobile phones may effectively replace computers sooner or later. Consequently, mobile phone users have been prominent targets for criminals of all kinds. In particular, those looking into obtaining cryptocurrency will often go after mobile users, with varying degrees of success.
In Australia, cybercriminals are purposefully targeting mobile users in connection with a cryptocurrency scam. By sending a text message claiming the recipient has received 3 Bitcoins, users are asked to click on a link. Once they do so, their mobile phone will be infected with cryptocurrency mining malware. This results in overheating, battery drainage and general instability of the mobile device itself – not a fun situation for victims of this new attack vector, that much is certain.
There are two URLs linked to in the aforementioned text message, which was sent to thousands of Australians earlier this week. As it happens, both sites promote a pump-and-dump-style spam service. Users have had issues backing out of these sites altogether, which only leads to more frustration. Completing the signup process isn’t the best course of action either, as users will only get spammed beyond belief. This is a clever ploy to steal mobile phone resources in order to mine cryptocurrency, although it may not necessarily be the most profitable approach.
While it is true this method of mining Bitcoin isn’t necessarily lucrative, it is still free money to the criminals. They aren’t using their own mobile devices to complete this process, but rather hijacking resources from thousands of unsuspecting victims. It is a clever strategy, as a few thousand mobile devices mining at the same time may result in a decent income. Especially with the Bitcoin price rising virtually every day, this approach will only become more popular as time progresses.
There is a secondary purpose to this attack as well. Once people sign up for the service linked to in the text message, this personal information can be used for additional scams against specific victims. It is evident the Bitcoin mining threat will be the least of most people’s concerns, even though it can significantly shorten the lifespan of one’s device. Ignoring text messages containing links from unknown senders is always the best course of action.