Google's DoubleClick Ads Used to Distribute Crypto Mining Malware

Security firm TrendMicro stated in a new report that Google's DoubleClick ad services were used to distribute cryptocurrency mining malware.

AccessTimeIconJan 29, 2018 at 10:20 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:30 a.m. UTC

Security firm TrendMicro stated in a new report that Google's DoubleClick ad services were used to distribute cryptocurrency mining malware to a number of users in Europe and Asia.

On its Security and Intelligence Blog, the company outlined how CoinHive – a JavaScript program that works in the background of a website and uses a computer's processing power to mine monero – was distributed by attackers who appropriated Google's DoubleClick. Significantly, miners like CoinHive operate without a user's consent or knowledge.

Google's DoubleClick ad services are also used by YouTube, the world's most popular video sharing service, and the miner impacted a number of users on the site, according to ArsTechnica.

A "separate web miner that connects to a private pool" was also involved in the scheme, according to TrendMicro's report.

The "malvertisement" incorporated two different web miner scripts in addition to the actual advertisement, according to the report.

It continued:

"The affected webpage will show the legitimate advertisement while the two web miners covertly perform their task. We speculate that the attackers’ use of these advertisements on legitimate websites is a ploy to target a larger number of users, in comparison to only that of compromised devices. The traffic involving the abovementioned cryptocurrency miners has since decreased after January 24".

As much as 80 percent of an affected computer's processing power can be taken over when exposed, reducing the machine's performance, according to the report.

Clandestine cryptocurrency mining has been on the rise in recent months, as previously reported. Companies such as oil pipeline giant Transneft have seen their systems affected by the malware, and a report from November suggested that CoinHive has become one of the more common pieces of malware in circulation today.

Malware image via Shutterstock


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