Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Endpoint

7/24/2018
06:30 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

New Free Chrome Plug-in Blocks Cryptojacking Browser Attacks

Qualys also plans Firefox, Safari, IE versions.

Qualys has developed a free extension for Google Chrome to protect browsers from cryptojacking attacks, Dark Reading has learned.

The new BrowserCheck CoinBlocker Extension uses both domain blacklists for cryptocurrency mining sites as well as heuristics features to detect unknown cryptojacking attack types. Qualys will officially roll out the plug-in on Wed., July 25, but it's already available on the Google Chrome Web Store.

Cryptojacking attacks often occur when an attacker infects a website with JavaScript, and an unsuspecting user visitor to the site unknowingly downloads that malicious code via a browser. The victim's machine is then used to mine cryptocurrency, which the attacker pockets. The process can eat up more than 70% of a machine's CPU, according to Qualys researchers.

Ankur Tyagi, senior malware research engineer at Qualys and one of the creators of the tool, says while there are other existing Chrome extensions for cryptojacking protection, most rely soley on a blacklist of IP addresses and not heuristics. Qualys' BrowserCheck CoinBlocker Extension also was built to detect the popular CryptoNight family of cryptomining software, Tyagi says, the most pervasive of which is Monero.

Among the other coin types under the CryptoNight umbrella are ByteCoin, Digital Note, AEON, Loki, and BitTube. Tyagi says the heuristics feature in the plug-in can spot patterns that indicate cryptomining algorithm activity.

"Attackers are trying to create JavaScript-based attacks that can be launched on clients that visit" crypto malware-infected sites, he says.

BrowserCheck CoinBlocker works like this: When a user browses a website, the plug-in checks for the telltale malicious JavaScript. If it detects it, it stops the browser from downloading the JavaScript and also blocks the mining site. Qualys also plans to later roll out versions of the plug-in for the Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer browsers.

Google has been well aware of cryptocurrency mining abuse. In April, Google removed and banned cryptocurrency mining extensions in the Chrome Web Store after 90% of these apps violated its policy of properly informing users of the the apps' purpose. 

The worldwide overall cryptocurrency market capitalization hit $270 billion this month, according to Qualys, demonstrating just how lucrative it is for abuse. Meantime, malicious coin-mining samples increased by 629% in the first quarter of this year, according to McAfee, from 40,000 samples in Q4 2017 to 2.9 million in Q1 2018.

Related Content:

 

 

 

Black Hat USA returns to Las Vegas with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier security solutions and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
97% of Americans Can't Ace a Basic Security Test
Steve Zurier, Contributing Writer,  5/20/2019
TeamViewer Admits Breach from 2016
Dark Reading Staff 5/20/2019
How a Manufacturing Firm Recovered from a Devastating Ransomware Attack
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  5/20/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-7844
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-22
Adobe Media Encoder version 13.0.2 has an out-of-bounds read vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to information disclosure.
CVE-2017-9809
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-22
OX Software GmbH OX App Suite 7.8.4 and earlier is affected by: Information Exposure.
CVE-2018-12886
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-22
stack_protect_prologue in cfgexpand.c and stack_protect_epilogue in function.c in GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) 4.1 through 8 (under certain circumstances) generate instruction sequences when targeting ARM targets that spill the address of the stack protector guard, which allows an attacker to bypas...
CVE-2019-7834
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-22
Adobe Acrobat and Reader versions 2019.010.20100 and earlier, 2019.010.20099 and earlier, 2017.011.30140 and earlier, 2017.011.30138 and earlier, 2015.006.30495 and earlier, and 2015.006.30493 and earlier have a use after free vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to arbitrary code execu...
CVE-2019-7835
PUBLISHED: 2019-05-22
Adobe Acrobat and Reader versions 2019.010.20100 and earlier, 2019.010.20099 and earlier, 2017.011.30140 and earlier version, 2017.011.30138 and earlier, 2015.006.30495 and earlier, and 2015.006.30493 and earlier have a use after free vulnerability. Successful exploitation could lead to arbitrary co...