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Cybercriminals imitate Google Translate to turn computers into cryptocurrency miners

Cybercriminals imitate Google Translate to turn computers into cryptocurrency miners

Cybercriminals use a fake Google Translate program to infect other people’s computers and turn them into cryptocurrency miners without users’ consent. (REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)

cyber security company check pointreported that it has discovered a hoax that mimics the desktop application of Google Translate to infect other people’s computers and turn them into cryptocurrency miners without users’ consent. This campaign, according to the company, would have come to harm 111,000 people in 11 countries since 2019.

The scam, created by cybercriminals, consists of spreading free software on websites such as Softpedia and Uptodown, although it can also be found by typing ‘Google Translate Desktop download’ in the browser search engine.

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Once downloaded and installed, the activation of the infection of a malicious software is delayed for a few weeks, a strategy considered key for the cybercriminals succeed in developing your deception. The execution of the infection occurs one month after the installation of the program.

The execution of the malware infection occurs one month after the installation of the fake Google Desktop Translate program on the victims' devices.  (EFE/Ritchie B. Tongo/File)
The execution of the malware infection occurs one month after the installation of the fake Google Desktop Translate program on the victims’ devices. (EFE/Ritchie B. Tongo/File)

In addition to delaying the execution of malicious software on affected devices, another strategy used by cybercriminals from the Turkish entity, called Nitrokodis the programming of tasks that allows to eliminate the trace of the origin of the infection

How malware works

The delay in the activation of the malware is not a casual element within the operation of the computer infection of users who are victims of malware. It is actually designed to make it easy to download 4 ‘doppers’, small programs that “help” to download malware. These can break the protection of some antiviruses and delete themselves after completing their task.

Once the doppers “release” the malware real, it runs and connects to your command and control server to get a setup for the cryptocurrency miner XMRig and start your activity.

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XMRig is an open source cryptocurrency mining program that, while legitimate, can be used by cybercriminals to infect other computers.  (Sarah Pabst/The New York Times)
XMRig is an open source cryptocurrency mining program that, while legitimate, can be used by cybercriminals to infect other computers. (Sarah Pabst/The New York Times)

XMRig is a program cryptocurrency mining open source code that, while legitimate, can be used by cybercriminals to infect other computers and make them work in mining without the consent of the victims.

Because they do not detect the malware used to be harmed, the devices (which perform cryptomining alongside their regular usage activities), may end up being unusable if they are low-end or otherwise slowed down. its operation.

In addition, despite the fact that the devices are used by XMRig to mine, users affected by the activity of cybercriminals they do not receive any profit For this. The goal of criminals is to increase their mining operations capacity

How to avoid being a victim of malware

According to Check Point, to avoid this type of attack that is harmful to user devices, it is recommended that the page domains websites to which they enter and from which downloads are made.

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It is recommended that the domains of the web pages to which you enter and from which you download are taken into account.  (ifep.com/Scyther)
It is recommended that the domains of the web pages to which you enter and from which you download are taken into account. (ifep.com/Scyther)

Also, in the case of fake sites, it is possible to detect possible spelling errors in the URLs; while emails with senders unknown to the user must be observed to detect possible cases of phishing.

An additional recommendation for users who want to download specific programs to their devices is that any software to be installed should come from the websites or publisher shops and authorized providers and acquaintances.

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