As 2018 enters its final months, one story continues to remain in the world of crypto. Mining malware is becoming increasingly prevalent, and something needs to be done about it. With an increasing amount of eyes on the situation, including companies such as McAfee, this scrutiny has prompted a response from Monero themselves.
Monero says ‘wake up!’
One of the first steps needed for the prevention of mining malware is education. The public needs to be made aware as to what it is, how it will harm them, and what they can do to prevent being themselves from being a victim.
Monero, the market leading privacy coin, has a dedicated community. They are one of the few coins available today that still closely resembles the ideologies presented in Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision for Bitcoin.
One of these characteristics is the ability for anyone to mine the currency. This means being able to profitably mine the currency on hardware accessible to the masses. While other currencies such as Bitcoin require expensive ASIC devices to be profitable, Monero can still be mined on GPU cards.
The ability to be mined on GPU cards, in addition to the privacy afforded by the protocol, has made Monero the go-to coin for mining malware.
Although these actions have absolutely nothing to do with Monero or the team of developers tasked with maintaining the network, the Monero community has had enough. To combat the issue there has been the formation of the Monero Malware Workgroup.
This Workgroup indicates they will be releasing a, “set of resources that explain the basics of Monero and mining. We also have resources explaining and helping stop/remove unwanted in-browser mining, system mining, and ransomware. The website is purposefully approachable to absolute newcomers so that anyone can understand, though it offers actionable information that novices and experts alike can follow. It’s our mission to resolve an unfortunate situation as well as possible.
Mining for Good
The ability to discreetly mine Monero is not always a bad thing. It has been detailed in the past, the various ways in which this ability can be put to good use – Monero recognizes this. Not wanting to punish those that do good, there is no other way to stop those that do bad, than to educate the public.
In their statement, Monero addressed this issue stating, “While the vast majority of users take advantage of these features for good, some attackers use Monero to earn money from machines without users’ consent. They may run miners on webpages that activate without a user’s consent. They may infect machines or hide it in other packages and run mining software. They may infect machines, encrypt the local files, and demand a ransom payment in Monero.
The Monero community condemns this malicious, non-consentual use of equipment to mine.”
We cannot ban every technology and item that people use to do bad things. We can only promote the good, and educate the public on how to spot the bad. Thankfully Monero recognizes this.
An Act of Futility
Despite their best intentions, the Monero Malware Workgroup recognized the mountain that must be climbed. In closing their statement the group comments, “We will not be able to eliminate malicious mining, but we hope to provide necessary education for people to better understand Monero, what mining is, and how to remove malware.”
As various agencies indicate a nearly 500% increase in mining malware incidents over 2018, the work being seen by this new workgroup is much needed.