Security vendor ESET reports of a new technique cybercriminals are utilising to generate funds. By purchasing traffic from an advertising network, they’re able to distribute malvertising (malicious ads) that utilise many victims’ computers to mine crptocurrency.
Since home computer users don’t run the kind of chips required to mine Bitcoin profitably, the cybercriminals responsible are using easier to mine cryptos. Most notable are ZCash, Litecoin, and Monero. These coins require much less computing power than typically associated with large-scale BTC mining operations.
ESET notes that malvertising is usually prohibited by the majority of networks because of how CPU-intensive it is, and the effects it has on the general user experience. At present, it remains unclear whether those networks distributing the ads and games have been compromised, or are themselves usurping their victims’ computing power for their own gain.
ESET also reported a geographical pattern emerging amongst cases involving malvertising, with most examples coming from Eastern Europe — and particularly Russia.