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 the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. 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
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Data Privacy Protections for the Most Vulnerable -- Children
Dimitri Sirota, Founder & CEO of BigID,  10/17/2019
Sodinokibi Ransomware: Where Attackers' Money Goes
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  10/15/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
2019 Online Malware and Threats
2019 Online Malware and Threats
As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-18214
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-19
The Video_Converter app 0.1.0 for Nextcloud allows denial of service (CPU and memory consumption) via multiple concurrent conversions because many FFmpeg processes may be running at once. (The workload is not queued for serial execution.)
CVE-2019-18202
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-19
Information Disclosure is possible on WAGO Series PFC100 and PFC200 devices before FW12 due to improper access control. A remote attacker can check for the existence of paths and file names via crafted HTTP requests.
CVE-2019-18209
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-19
templates/pad.html in Etherpad-Lite 1.7.5 has XSS when the browser does not encode the path of the URL, as demonstrated by Internet Explorer.
CVE-2019-18198
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-18
In the Linux kernel before 5.3.4, a reference count usage error in the fib6_rule_suppress() function in the fib6 suppression feature of net/ipv6/fib6_rules.c, when handling the FIB_LOOKUP_NOREF flag, can be exploited by a local attacker to corrupt memory, aka CID-ca7a03c41753.
CVE-2019-18197
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-18
In xsltCopyText in transform.c in libxslt 1.1.33, a pointer variable isn't reset under certain circumstances. If the relevant memory area happened to be freed and reused in a certain way, a bounds check could fail and memory outside a buffer could be written to, or uninitialized data could be disclo...