Hackers are exploiting Kobe Bryant's wallpaper to mine cryptocurrency
As the world mourns the unexpected demise of legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant, hackers are using the tragedy to make money. They are hiding a hard-to-detect strain of cryptojacking malware in Bryant's downloadable wallpapers available on the internet and using them as a way to mine cryptocurrency on people's computers. Here's all you need to know about it.
Microsoft flagged hackers' new trick to make profits
Just a few hours ago, the researchers at Microsoft's Security Intelligence team flagged the cryptojacking malware, identified as Trojan:HTML/Brocoiner.N!lib, hidden inside Bryant's desktop wallpaper. The software hijacks the user's computer and then uses its processing power to generate cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin/Monero. And, the worst part is, it stays completely under the radar so you won't even know why your computer is slowing down.
Here's what Microsoft said about the issue
"While the world mourns the loss of an NBA legend, cybercriminals are, as expected, taking advantage of the tragedy," the researchers said, adding that they had "found a malicious HTML file posing as a Kobe Bryant wallpaper that contains a coin mining script."
Microsoft has taken action to prevent its spread
Further, the intelligence team of the Redmond giant added that the action has already been taken to prevent the trojan from spreading in the wild. According to the company, the Windows Defender SmartScreen tool has now been updated to detect and block the website hosting the malware-laced Bryant wallpaper. Notably, Windows' SmartScreen is specifically designed for the purpose of blocking malicious sites/apps.
Cryptojacking poses a major threat
Cryptomining, as many already know, is the process of verifying crypto transactions and adding them into the blockchain ledger, which results in being rewarded with a certain amount of the currency in question. However, as the process is CPU intensive, hackers have started using cryptojacking techniques, where they hijack someone else's computer and use it covertly to generate money. It significantly affects PC's performance.
Various vectors used for cryptojacking
Before Bryant's wallpaper, hackers used Taylor Swift and Scarlett Johansson's wallpapers to spread the malicious cryptominers. There have also been cases where fake apps, like flash updates, and websites are found hiding cryptojacking programs.
However, you can prevent it
To prevent cryptojacking attacks on your PC, install a reliable antivirus software - one that should have cryptojacking definitions in its virus libraries. Technically, the antivirus should protect browsers and websites too, but you can install dedicated cryptomining blockers on your web browsers to prevent attacks via web. You can use minerBlock, Anti Miner, and Coin-Hive Blocker on Chrome and NoMiner on Firefox.