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
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 6/5/2020
How AI and Automation Can Help Bridge the Cybersecurity Talent Gap
Peter Barker, Chief Product Officer at ForgeRock,  6/1/2020
Cybersecurity Spending Hits 'Temporary Pause' Amid Pandemic
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  6/2/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: What? IT said I needed virus protection!
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-13890
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-06
The Neon theme 2.0 before 2020-06-03 for Bootstrap allows XSS via an Add Task Input operation in a dashboard.
CVE-2020-13889
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-06
showAlert() in the administration panel in Bludit 3.12.0 allows XSS.
CVE-2020-13881
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-06
In support.c in pam_tacplus 1.3.8 through 1.5.1, the TACACS+ shared secret gets logged via syslog if the DEBUG loglevel and journald are used.
CVE-2020-13883
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-06
In WSO2 API Manager 3.0.0 and earlier, WSO2 API Microgateway 2.2.0, and WSO2 IS as Key Manager 5.9.0 and earlier, Management Console allows XXE during addition or update of a Lifecycle.
CVE-2020-13871
PUBLISHED: 2020-06-06
SQLite 3.32.2 has a use-after-free in resetAccumulator in select.c because the parse tree rewrite for window functions is too late.