Cryptocurrency Botnet Spreads Rapidly Through Android Devices

A new botnet focused on devices running the Android operating system has spread to over 5,000 devices in only 24 hours.

Another new piece of malware was discovered recently that drives Android phones to mine Monero.

Discovered by Netlab — a Chinese security company — and dubbed “ADB.Miner”, the virus spreads by scanning for other devices in the network with port 5555 open.

This port is usually used for Android’s debugging feature, which users would turn on in their advanced settings.

Although users could work easily with their phones without turning this feature on, many do so in order to perform more advanced operations such as rooting.

Of course, mining cryptocurrency through one phone doesn’t really turn much of a profit, so hackers often write viruses that can spread easily from one device to another within a short amount of time.

This particular virus has already spread to over 5,000 devices in a 24-hour period. 

The rate at which it infects new devices continues to grow at an exponential rate, although it plateaued during the last few hours of the most recent analysis of its spread.

“...infected devices are actively trying to spread malicious code. By analyzing the spreading source, we found that most of them are smart phones and smart TV based on Android,” the analysis by Netlab read.

The virus was found mining to the Hash Vault and MineXMR Monero mining pools to one single wallet address.

So far, no coins have successfully been mined with the virus, but the fact that hackers could make these attempts without many obstacles will encourage them to try more ambitious projects in the future.

Another botnet known as Smominru recently infected half a million Windows servers, making them mine about 24 Monero per day.

At the time we reported this, the hackers made an estimated $5,500 per day by infecting a machine and waiting for the virus to spread across various corporate networks.

We can continue to expect these attacks to increase in their level of sophistication as time passes, making hacking a very profitable, albeit illegal enterprise.