Eight Crypto-Mining Apps Eradicated From the Microsoft Store

Symantec (A cybersecurity company) recently discovered eight Windows 10 apps that were responsible for mining the Monero cryptocurrency without the user’s knowledge. Symantec then reported these apps to Microsoft and the tech giant immediately removed them from its database.

The eight apps include the:

1. Fast-search Lite

2. Battery Optimizer (Tutorials)

3. VPN Browsers+, Downloader for YouTube Videos

4. Clean Master+ (Tutorials)

5. FastTube

6. Findoo Browser 2019

7. Findoo Mobile

8. Desktop Search

According to the initial investigation, the apps were developed by three developers named DigiDream, 1clean and Findoo. These were discovered last month by US-based firm Symantec who claims that the presence of adjacent domains indicated that all the apps were developed by the same person or group.

Symantec also shared the details on its blog, where it states that all the apps worked in a similar manner by loading the Google Tag Manager (GTM) library with the source code that could later be downloaded and executed the actual malicious payload.

The code also included a pirated version of the infamous Coinhive – a JavaScript library that many hackers add to compromised websites in order to mine Monero through the visitor’s browsers.

Besides the hacked websites, the library has apparently also utilized the apps that could execute the JavaScript code, such as game mods, Android and iOS apps, and now, Windows 10 apps.

This is the first time such apps have been unveiled on the Microsoft Store.
Related: A USB Cable Can Now Hack Your Data Easily
According to Symantec, these apps belong to the category of Progressive Web Applications that are installed as a Windows 10 app running independently from the browser in a standalone (WWAHost.exe process) Window. Experts from Symantec explained that these apps were able to run the Coinhive JavaScript code.

The users who installed these apps in the past few months would have noticed their CPU usage exceeding the optimum limit. This is because Coinhive miner can consume all available resources to mine Monero for the benefit of its app developers.

However, it is impossible to state the number of users who were affected by the apps.

Interestingly, the apps seem quite popular and boast thousands of reviews from the users.

Cryptojacking is the illegal practice of mining cryptocurrency without user’s knowledge. With the sudden surge in cryptocurrency prices in 2017, the process of crypto jacking has become a very popular form of cybercrime. Reports suggest that many ‘troublesome groups’ have managed to make millions of dollars in profits through this illegal protocol.

Microsoft removes eight 'risky' crypto-mining apps from its web Store

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