Users looking to stream free content via Amazon’s Android-supporting TV and Fire sticks might find they are inadvertently opening up their connection to a crypto mining bot.
Cryptojacking, the term used to describe the method of hijacking a device and using the computing power to discreetly mine cryptocurrency, is becoming more and more popular. Open-source software such as Android is a prime target for such hackers.
It’s becoming common nowadays for Amazon TV and Fire sticks to be sold with pre-installed streaming software such as Kodi, which requires enabling ADB debugging – a developer option not meant for use by average users. Once enabled, the option opens port 5555 which the botnet ADB.miner uses to install its malware.
Once infected, a device will use system resources such a CPU and GPU power to mine for the Monero (XMR) cryptocurrency. The mined Monero is then transferred to a digital wallet owned by the hacker. A search engine that discovers internet-connected devices that are easily accessible found that there are currently 17,000 devices worldwide that are potentially vulnerable.
Research by Palo Alto Network’s Unit 42 estimates that around five percent of Monero in circulation has been mined in this way, equaling a total of approximately $143 million worth of stolen cryptocurrency. Due to the research not taking into account Web-based malware miners, the researchers admit that the real figure could be much higher.
Monero is popular amongst cryptojackers due to the additional privacy and anonymity it provides that other coins such as Bitcoin, do not.
The infection is not limited to Amazon devices – any product with ADB debugging enabled could potentially be infected, including mobile phones and tablets. If streaming or browsing on your Android device has become unusually slow of late, it’s possible you are providing some unscrupulous hacker with free Monero. Users who are concerned that they may be infected can use the Total Commander app to check for the presence of an app called ‘Test’ on their Amazon Fire or TV stick.
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