Crypto mining: Browser Opera now also protects smartphones

27. October 2018

Yesterday, Monday, the new mobile version of the free browser Opera was released. It protects not only desktop users but also users of tablet PCs and smartphones against the mining of crypto currencies. If you activate the Ad Blocker with the new version of the app on Android or iOS, you are protected against all unwanted scripts at the same time.

The desktop version of Opera has been offering this new Bitcoin evolution

In our special Bitcoin evolution review last year, we explained in detail how cybercriminals can use the CPU power of third parties to their advantage. One of the variants shown abuses the computing power of the target computers via a Javascript, which was built into a website. One of the first legal providers was the Bitcoin evolution website of the world-famous soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, where the CoinHive script was activated for a few days. After the international press reported about it, the mining there was switched off again. According to anti-piracy companies, numerous illegal streaming websites have installed such mining scripts to date in order to maximize their revenues.

However, mobile surfers who visit such websites with their smartphones are also affected by the unwanted exploitation of the processors. In the best case scenario, the battery runs out within a very short time. In individual cases, the devices are even said to have overheated. The desktop version of the browser Opera has been offering mining protection since January 4, 2018; yesterday, Monday, the mobile app for Android and iOS devices followed suit. Those who switch on their own advertising blocker after the update are safe from all harmful scripts as well as advertising.

The Norwegian browser manufacturer Opera estimates that around one billion devices are abused in this way every day. On more than three million websites, such malware was found using special crawlers (a specially programmed search software for analysing the web).

The free browser Opera

The news portal ZDNet reports a case in which a new type of Trojan named Loapi causes Android smartphones to dramatically overheat their batteries. A smartphone was completely destroyed within 48 hours. But Loapi can also cause quite other damage. Since the beginning of December, for the benefit of cyber criminals, paid text messages and other paid services have been used without further confirmation by the user. The malware can even execute DDoS attacks on request, as Kaspersky Lab reports. Due to the intensive use of the battery due to the high volume of data, the battery was overheated in the laboratory to such an extent that the device finally broke down after 48 hours. The reason for this is simple: in just 24 hours, more than 28,000 websites were accessed via which online advertising was delivered to the victim. In addition, the CPU was heated by the CPU-intensive crypto-mining.

If you want to be on the safe side, you should buy the mobile version of Opera, which can be downloaded free of charge from Google Play and Apple’s App Store. Probably the other browser manufacturers will soon follow suit in order not to be left behind by the competition. Overall, this development is quite positive, as it should make hackers’ business less profitable in the long run.