Experts Weigh In On New Cryptocurrency-Mining Botnet

Experts Weigh In On New Cryptocurrency Mining Botnet

A new cryptocurrency-mining botnet could severely affect unprotected Android users. Experts say while the unprotected devices are mostly phones in Asia, these issues are becoming a big problem for technology security.

There is a new cryptocurrency-mining botnet that arrives via open ADB (android Debug Bridge) ports and can spread via SSH, according to Trend Micro.

Android-based devices are susceptible to the malware due to the use of ADB. The attack exploits open ADB ports, and can spread from the infected host to any system that has had a previous SSH connection with the host. This exploitation is similar to the Satori botnet.

According to ZDNet, many Android devices have the ADB developer function and command-line tool disabled by default, but some devices do ship with the feature enabled. If it’s enabled, the device is susceptible to the attack.

Mounir Hahad, head of Juniper Threat Labs at Juniper Networks, said that most of the vulnerable devices exist in Asia, and not all of them are phones.

“The number of publicly vulnerable devices has declined from about 40,000 devices one year ago to about 30,000 devices today,” Hahad said. “Most of the remaining vulnerable devices are located in Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. It should be noted that some of the vulnerable devices are set top boxes used for IPTV, not mobile phones. It is our speculation that most of the phones are, or become, vulnerable, due to enabling the Android Debug Bridge during device rooting, a process which allows a locked down device to move freely between service providers.”

Sam Bakken, senior product marketing manager of OneSpan, said Androids are difficult devices to secure, making this bot an even bigger issue for companies.

“It can really be hard for the general Android user to keep their device secure. They are beholden to their carriers or device manufacturers in most cases. Even if they wanted to harden their device with security updates or more secure configurations they simply can’t,” Bakken said. “Security is becoming a more important criterion in consumer decisions about which devices and apps they will and will not use. Savvy organizations are responding, building security into their mobile apps with technologies such as app shielding and other in-app protections.”

About the Author

Kaitlyn DeHaven is the Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

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