Malware creators interested in mining cryptocurrency on your behalf are expanding their efforts from desktops and notebooks to mobile devices. Security researchers at Trend Micro recently identified two apps -Songs and Prized - that are secretly being used to mine alternative cryptocurrencies like Litecoin and Dogecoin.
Songs has been downloaded between one and five million times thus far while Prized has recorded between 10,000 and 50,000 downloads.
The malware in question is called ANDROIDOS_KAGECOIN.HBT and has been found in repackaged copies of other popular apps previously. The malware contains code from cpuminer, a legitimate Android mining application, which uses mobile devices to mine cryptocurrency. What makes this discovery different is that the code was found within apps offered through the official Google Play store instead of third-party app stores.
As Trend Micro points out, the attack is indeed clever but they question whether or not whoever carried it out thought things through. That's because mobile devices simply don't have the processing power necessary to be effective miners. What's more, users will quickly notice the poor battery life, slow recharge times and hot-running devices.
At the same time, perhaps Trend Micro is overlooking the power of hardware in numbers. Sure, mobile devices aren't the best for mining but with thousands or millions of devices at your disposal, they can still generate a lot of cryptocurrency. The report even says as much, claiming they believe the cybercriminal has already accumulated a great deal of Dogecoins.