A major mining botnet has been discovered on the Monero (XMR) mining protocol in which over 35,000 computer systems across Latin America have been found to be infected.
The botnet, known as Victory Gate, dates back to May 2019 and has been identified in three different variants, ever since it was originally discovered by cyber security firm ESET.
Since then, all three forms of the malware have been widely prevalent in computers across South America.
Monero Mining Malware a Common Problem
It’s believed most of the victims were targeted using a USB or SSD, which would install an infected payload onto the computer once inserted.
The Monero mining botnet would then be activated, and commands to the node would run the Monero mining protocol on the computer.
ESET believe it might not only be Monero, that the botnet targeted, however. The cyber security specialists believe other cryptocurrecies could have been targeted if the hackers were able to offer instructions to the nodes for to download other mining scripts.
It’s hardly surprising the malware has targeted Monero. The privacy focused cryptocurrency is the main target for most mining malware, and it’s known that many computers across the globe have been infected through XMR mining malware.
They target Monero because of its privacy, and are easily able to disguise their payout without getting caught. Monero is without doubt the undisputed king of the darknet, and is widely used among cybercriminals.
Many believe this to be a problem with privacy coins, like Monero, but many counter that by saying privacy is its best feature.
Privacy is a human right, and there’s nothing more laundered than paper currency, but the problem Monero and other privacy coins face is that the more popular they get, the more governments will clamp down.
As well as expected government crackdowns, Monero will always be attractive to hackers. It’s part of the privacy conundrum.
That said, it’s important we have a privacy option, and Monero is extremely popular among the cryptocurrency community, and the brand its built as a privacy coin is second to none.
However, with hackers continuously creating malware, it’s important everyone mining Monero and all other cryptocurrencies remains vigilant, and regularly checks their mining performance.
Author: James Gilligan