It is aimed at advanced PC users who want to tweak how their GPU performs malware (Opens in a new tab)say the researchers.
A number of websites have been caught advertising a fraudulent version of MSI Afterburner, which instead installs cryptocurrency miners and hackers on affected people. endpoints (Opens in a new tab).
MSI Afterburner is software that allows users to modify the way their graphics cards work, allowing users to tweak overclocking, track card temperature, and many other tasks. Although it was designed by computer maker MSI, it works with almost any graphics card, which quickly catapulted it to stardom in the gaming and PC user communities – but now also appears to have made it a target for criminals.
Cryptocurrency mining with GPUs
Cybersecurity researchers from Cyble say they’ve discovered more than 50 sites claiming to be the official MSI Afterburner site in the past three months alone.
Sites often push cryptocurrency miners into Monero, and an information-stealing trojan called RedLine Stealer. Most of the domains detected were typographically added, but there were also some that had nothing to do with MSI, whatever.
High-end graphics cards are an important tool for cryptocurrency miners, as they allow them to generate tokens more efficiently. For this reason, in the past two years, the prices of flagship GPU models have risen steadily, while the supply of cards has been almost depleted. This is also why targeting MSI Afterburner with a cryptocurrency miner makes sense.
However, since Ethereum (the world’s second largest blockchain network by market capitalization, second only to Bitcoin) moved from Proof of Work (mining) to Proof of Stake (staking), mining’s popularity has been declining. Rising electricity costs and cryptocurrency in the bear market it is currently experiencing (bitcoin fell from $69,000 last November to nearly $16,000 in November) have all played their part.
However, for cybercriminals hijacking other people’s mining endpoints, token price volatility means very little.
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