Egypt Could Be Hacking Citizens’ Computers To Mine Cryptocurrency Covertly
(Kitco News) - Amid reports that cryptocurrency mining attacks are multiplying by the dozen, Toronto University’s The Citizen Lab released data showing that Egyptian government has been reportedly hacking into its citizens’ computers to mine digital currencies.
The Citizen Lab revealed a scheme called AdHose, in which Egyptian government or government-linked entities redirected Internet users to websites infected with malware that mined the Monero cryptocurrency without the users’ knowledge.
“On a number of occasions, the middleboxes were apparently being used to hijack Egyptian Internet users’ unencrypted web connections en masse, and redirect the users to revenue-generating content such as affiliate ads and browser cryptocurrency mining scripts,” said the report, which was published on Friday.
One of the modes within the AdHose scheme was to force malicious ads or websites on Egyptian users.
It is unclear how many people were impacted by this. “AdHose is likely an effort to covertly raise money,” the report added.
Similar tactics were reportedly used in Turkey and Syria, but in those instances, malicious software was said to be employed to spy on citizens.
Similar tactic was also used to block access to a number of websites, including Al Jazeera, Reporters Without Borders and HuffPost Arabi, according to the report.
The Citizen Lab report comes at a time when cases of forced cryptocurrency mining are skyrocketing.
An internet company Cyren Security Lab released its own findings two weeks ago, stating that there was a 725% increase in the number of websites running crypto mining scripts from last September to January 2018.
Cyren added that the main currency used by the mining scripts was Monero. This digital currency was created only in April 2014 and uses mining to create new coinage.