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Transneft, the world’s largest oil pipeline company, announced today that, unbeknownst to them, their computers had been mining cryptocurrency monero. This is just the latest example of hackers installing crypto-mining malware on others’ computers, though Transneft may be the biggest victim so far.

Negative Impact on Productivity

The company’s Vice President, and former interior minister of Russia, Vladimir Rushailo said that, “Incidents where the company’s hardware was used to manufacture cryptocurrency have been found.” Reflecting on this unintended use of company computer power he added, that “it could have a negative impact on the productivity of our processing capacity.”

Starbucks Hackers

The security breach was announced just days after surprised Starbucks customers in Argentina found their laptops being used to mine monero. It appears that the Starbucks rewards site had been hacked, and devices were only being allowed onto the coffee shop’s WiFi network once they had mined 10 seconds’ worth of monero.

Coinjacking

This “coinjacking” (or “cryptojacking”) is becoming ever more common. Malware for CoinHive, the monero exchange, has been found in e-commerce sites all over the web and media platforms like Showtime Networks and UFC Fight Pass, infecting users’ computers and joining them to a cryptocurrency mining network.

Recently there were warnings that video streaming sites Streamango, Openload, OnlineVideoConverter, and RapidVideo had also been infected. While users are watching videos their devices are mining monero. Together these sites account for nearly 1 billion monthly views and are thought to have been generating hundreds of thousands of dollars for hackers.

Monero the hackers’ preference

Monero is usually the cryptocurrency of choice for such schemes as it is untraceable and quick transaction confirmations mean the user’s computer need not be borrowed for long. Mining can be done from most devices as, unlike bitcoin, it does not require application-specific-integrated circuits (ASICs).

Silver Monero Coin Image From Shutterstock

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