Monero’s Mining Botnet Was Officially Taken Down By ESET

Monero’s Mining Botnet

Monero’s mining Botnet that affected more than 35,000 computers, was officially taken down by ESET, the Slovak cybersecurity company that initially identified the botnet dubbed VictoryGate, as we reported in the previous Monero news.

The undocumented botnet was active for more than a year and infected more than 35,000 computers. In the latest press release, the Bratislava-based security company announced that they are working together with the Shadowserver Foundation to discover ‘’at least a portion of the botnet operation.’’ The research that was compiled by ESET estimated that the botnet functions since May 2019.

ESET data

The peak number of unique IP addresses connecting to the botnet command and control server per day (Source: ESET)

The malware infected more than 35,000 devices in Peru and it targeted organizations in the public and private sectors including financial institutions. The main activity of the botnet was mining the privacy-oriented cryptocurrency- Monero. VictoryGate spread via removable devices according to Alan Warburton who is the ESET researcher who investigated the botnet:

 “The victim receives a USB drive that, at some point, was connected to an infected machine. It seemingly has all the filed with the same names and icons that it contained before being infected. Because of this, the content will look almost identical at first glance. However, all original files were replaced by a copy of the malware. When an unsuspecting user attempts to open one of these files, the script will open both the file that was intended and the malicious payload.”

Monero’s mining botnet VictoryGate made huge efforts to avert detection. The latest studies on the matter compiled from more than 3,000 IT professionals, showed that about 86% of them consider this to be a huge threat. The cryptojacking occurs when an unauthorized entity takes control over a third-party’s device and starts mining cryptocurrencies.

Despite the concerns, 12% of the IT specialist were not quite aware of the organization can even detect such data manipulation. 32% of the people outside of the IT industry said that they wouldn’t know if someone else accessed their device and many of them were unsure whether their anti-malware is up to date or whether they even had one installed on their devices.

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