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EghtesadOnline: With the unabashed rise of cryptocurrencies and growing public interest in the so-called digital money, Iran Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center (Iran CERTCC) reports that some local popular websites have been ‘borrowing’ visitors’ Central Computer Processors to mine virtual coins.

The telecoms minister said he has received reports from Iran CERTCC that show  some popular websites including online news services are using the computer resources of visitors to mine digital currencies, ICANA reported. 

Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi says, “Iran CERTCC has discovered a code in several websites that employ visitors’ CPU for mining cryptocurrencies.” He condemned the move as a form of cryptojacking which is defined as secretively using people’s computing devices to mine cryptocurrency.

Iran CERTCC reports that such codes have been embedded in some of these websites by cybercriminals. Administrators of such websites have been informed and told to remove the codes, Financial Tribune reported.

It is believed that some administrators have embedded the cryptojacking scripts in their websites knowingly. The CERTCC says it is gathering evidence of such fraudulent conduct and evidence will be sent to the judiciary for legal action. 

Reprimanding such websites, Jahromi said that it would be in the interest of service providers to put an end to cryptojacking before legal action is taken against them. “This is the final warning.”

 Coinhive

With prices of digital currencies reaching record highs only to sink within hours and then climb again, hardly does a week pass without cryptocurrencies hitting the headlines across continents. The increasing interest and demand for the virtual coins have at the same time given rise of cryptojacking.

The technology used for cryptojacking in Iran is rather likely to be Coinhive, a JavaScript code that allows website owners and cybercriminals to make money by using visitors’ computers to mine Monero, a highly profitable cryptocurrency.

According to a recent study by cybersecurity firm Check Point, Coinhive which is categorized as a malware by the company is the most prevalent malicious software online.

Computer hardware and electricity costs are the two main limits cryptocurrency miners face. By cryptojacking, miners can circumvent these limits.

In addition to getting a huge electric bill, when a user’s computer’s processor gets hijacked by the coin miners the computer speed observes a significant decline and if checked the user would find out that the computer’s CPU usage has spiked sharply.

Cryptojackers can use 100% of a target’s computer processing power which in addition to clogging up the target’s CPU can lead to crashed processes that terminates whatever the user was doing in favor of the mining operation.

Coinhive is not the only cryptojacking malware out there and others like Cryptoloot and Rocks have been detected. All these malicious softwares perform the same procedures.

Google has introduced several extensions for its web browser Chrome which after installation can protect computers from being targeted by cryptojackers.

 

Cryptocurrencies Iran websites Iran Computer Emergency Response Team Visitors CPUs Virtual Coins digital money CERTCC