Hackers could use the coin’s processing power to mine for other cryptocurrencies, including Monero. The Canadian startup charged $20 to check your PC for mining software using its software. Anyone who went through the process found that their machines were running farms full of malware – usually Trojans designed to steal information from unsuspecting victims. At least one security researcher was skeptical, telling me “the checks are not reliable.” I decided to do my own test with Hijackthis, which monitors all active processes on a machine and flags suspicious ones. When I ran Hijackthis I found 14 mining processes running – all but two of them legitimate Windows applications that help run bitcoin miners or Web browsers in places where you would expect people to be doing work.
The good news is that, while these scams can allow hackers access to your machine, they’re still pretty obvious – there are no tricks involved in getting them running in the first place. You can see whether they are installed by checking along the lines of “checking autorun location database” in Task Manager or landing on page 2-6 of this Microsoft document . If you don’t have AVG anti-virus protection (you should), make sure you disable its firewall setting when installing anything new onto your machine. It was just last month that Google announced it had identified several ways in which attackers were hacking into legitimate AV utilities via regular web browsing sessions , allowing control over users’ computers once again without even needing downloaded malicious software.