In many of these apps, the page is loaded whenever the app is started. Well-developed apps even use CPU throttling to prevent heating up of the device and draining of battery to conceal its presence. A large percentage of CoinHive apps, which offered videos and information about wrestling, were published around Christmas from four different accounts, the report says.
One such app had between 1-5 lakh installs. The report also details the threats from third-party mining module CoinMiner. This comes after the discovery of malware Loapi, which masquerades as popular antivirus apps or an adult content app.
Bitcoin mining appears to be the gold rush of the 21st century. Such malware have a long history in Google Play, with the first family — Andr/LepriCon-A — appearing in 2014, but recent discoveries present a worrisome expansion of the trend.
Siladitya adds: Adblockers are having a major impact on publisher revenues and they are understandably looking for alternative sources of revenue. Publishers like Salon and Register are doing this via crypto mining after informing their readers. But even then the whole thing is a bit opaque on the amount of system resource that will be used and what is the potential impact on the longevity of the user’s device. What’s worse we might see publishers integrate this without a user’s consent and there are no laws preventing that.
India’s income tax department has recently slapped tax notices on almost five lakh high net worth individuals transacting in bitcoin. The department had been looking to tax cryptomining since 2014.
While cryptocurrencies are not illegal in India, the Ministry of Finance has likened it to a Ponzi scheme. The Reserve Bank of India has also cautioned citizens, saying that any user, holder, investor, or trader dealing with cryptocurrencies would be doing so at their own risk. Governments across the world are trying to regulate the use of cryptocurrencies, the US Treasury being the latest one to call to coordinated action.
Social media giant Facebook has also banned the advertising of cryptocurrencies on its platforms, saying that these “financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices”.