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Thursday, 30 November 2017 09:12

Cryptomining works on Windows even after browser is closed

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A new strain of cryptomining scripts that work through browsers continue their activity through a pop-under window even after a user shuts their browser, researchers have found.

Many websites have been outed for embedding such scripts in order to use the CPU and GPU power of users to mine for cryptocurrencies.

Security company Malwarebytes said in a blog post that the new technique had been spotted in tests that it had carried out using Google's Chrome browser running on Windows.

Researcher Jérôme Segura said he had observed the following:

"A user visits a website, which silently loads cryptomining code; CPU activity rises but is not maxed out; the user leaves the site and closes the Chrome window; CPU activity remains higher than normal as cryptomining continues."

coinmining

He said that although the visible browser windows were closed, there was a hidden window that remained open.

"This is due to a pop-under which is sized to fit right under the taskbar and hides behind the clock," he added.

Segura said that more technical users would be able to spot the presence of the pop-under window by running Windows Task Manager and terminating any browser processes that were still running.

Graphic: courtesy Malwarebytes

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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