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Almost half of consumers (47%) are not worried about crypto mining software, believing that their gadgets have no vulnerabilities, while another 13% do not think crypto miners can steal data or spy on them. Some 19% say that not owning digital currency or not being involved in digital currency mining makes them immune to such threats.

These results come from a study by Avast, which will conduct an experiment at the ongoing RSA 2018 Conference in Singapore. The digital security provider will demonstrate to the public how their IoT (Internet of Things) and mobile devices can fall prey to crypto mining malware.

Ondrej Vlcek, CTO and consumer products head at Avast, commented:

"With the growing IoT landscape, PC users are no longer the sole victims of crypto mining malware. Now, IoT devices and smartphones are just as easily hijacked and turned into crypto mining machines — and it doesn't matter if you own cryptocurrency or not. This is the kind of malware that can run quietly in the background of any smart device. Our hope at Avast is to dispel myths and educate users on the very real risks crypto mining presents to personal data and device performance."

Avast said it conducted a survey among 2,300 computer users in the US last month and found some misconceptions about digital currency mining. A number of those polled had no knowledge about infected websites that mine cryptocurrencies using their visitors’ electronic gadgets. The researchers also found that 25% of those surveyed had no idea what cryptocurrency is.

During the RSA conference, Avast will invite attendees to participate in the experiment using their personal smartphones to mine cryptocurrency Monero and give them a better understanding of the risks posed by malicious crypto mining malware.

Avast added:

“As the cyber threat landscape multiplies alongside the growing ecosystem of IoT devices, cybercriminals behind crypto mining malware maximize profit faster. The first IoT botnet, a variant of the Mirai botnet, appeared in 2017 providing cybercriminals the most profit when attacking devices on a mass scale. Initial research by Avast shows that 12,000 vulnerable IoT devices would be needed to mine $1,000 in Monero coins over the duration of RSA. ”

20,000+ websites infected with crypto mining malware

A study by internet service provider Ahrefs released this month showed over 20,000 websites were infected with malware that mines cryptocurrencies using the computers and other electronic gadgets of their unsuspecting visitors.

Ahrefs said it studied more than 175 million domain databases and discovered that thousands of websites are infected with crypto-mining scripts capable of turning visitors' devices into mining machines.

In February, Avast issued a warning during the Mobile World Congress 2018 that cybercriminals could take advantage of the vulnerabilities of IoTs, smartphones, and smart TVs to create an army of millions to illegally mine Monero.