The value of cryptocurrencies is on the rise, but so are the risks from hackers

top tech stories bitcoin cash split
Peter Verreussel / 123rf
Cryptocurrencies are continuing to increase in value. The most popular of these currencies, Bitcoin, recently broke the $6,000 mark. Unfortunately, this recent boom has inspired a new breed of malware designed to help hackers harvest Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Many websites now unknowingly containin code which will secretly use a visitor’s computer to mine cryptocurrencies. The code is usually written in Javascript and inserted into sites which employ poor security or have fallen victim to software bugs.

In October, it was found that hundreds of websites were hosting code written by Coin-Hive, which allows the websites to generate Monero coins by taking advantage of the processing power of computers that visited the site. Some of the sites had added the Coin-Hive code themselves, but others had been hacked.

In total, roughly 150 domains were found to be hosting the Coin-Hive code. The code was most commonly found on porn, file-sharing, and video sites.

It’s important to keep in mind that most security companies do not consider in-browser mining to be malicious in and of itself, but in this case, many of these sites don’t ask the user’s permission beforehand. While Coin-Hive is one of the larger examples of such code, there are plenty of knock-offs, including some which work on mobile devices. Such code will often rapidly drain a smartphone’s battery, as mining cryptocurrency requires a lot of power.

Many of these programs are also targeting popular content-management systems such as WordPress. Catalin Cimpanu of BleepingComputer found several WordPress plug-ins that use visitors’ computers to mine cryptocurrencies. None of these plug-ins ask a user’s permission beforehand.

This new wave of malware has prompted tech companies to take action. Many anti-virus programs have been updated to combat such software, and Google is working on a fix for the problem within the Chrome browser. Meanwhile, Coin-Hive has released an official version of its software, which requires permission before accessing a user’s computer.

This rise of malware is only one of the problems facing cryptocurrencies right now. Both China and South Korea have banned initial coin offerings due to fears that attempting to raise money via cryptocurrency could lead to fraud.

Computing

Mining cryptocurrency for Razer Silver isn’t worth your computing power

Gaming peripheral maker Razer launched a cryptocurrency mining scheme called SoftMiner. You use its software to mine and in return, you get Razer Silver which you can use to buy Razer gear.
Computing

Windows Update not working after October 2018 patch? Here’s how to fix it

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you step by step.
Emerging Tech

This cryptocurrency wallet for kids isn’t nearly as stupid as it sounds

So you’ve taught your 6-year-old child to read, write, and play nice with others. What’s next? Give them a base understanding of cryptocurrency, of course. This Kickstarter aims to help.
Digital Trends Live

Cryptocurrency investor Ian Balina sees a comeback for cryptocurrency in 2019

We chatted with crypto investor Ian Balina on what the future is for cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin. He also gave us three things to look for when we are investing our own money.
Computing

No more wild goose chase: ‘Duck.com’ now leads to DuckDuckGo instead of Google

DuckDuckGo recently acquired a shorter domain name from fellow search engine competitor Google. As a result, longtime and new DuckDuckGo users can now access the privacy-focused search engine by going to duck.com.
Computing

Samsung Notebook 9 Pen is back with new design, internals and S Pen

Samsung's new Notebook 9 Pen looks to be an ideal Windows 2-in-1 for creators. New features include a modern design, an updated S Pen in the box, and the latest eighth-generation Intel Core i7 processor.
Computing

These are the worst passwords of 2018. Is yours on this list?

Do you use a bad password that makes your online accounts easy to break into? SplashData has compiled a list of the top 100 worst passwords for 2018 and there are quite a few listings that were carryovers from prior lists.
Mobile

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Computing

Costco members can cut up to $200 off MacBook and iMac price tags

Costco is discounting MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops by as much as $200 as part of a members-only sale. It also has deals on select MacBooks and iMacs, with optional Apple Care in most instances.
Computing

Fix those internet dead zones by turning an old router into a Wi-Fi repeater

Is there a Wi-Fi dead zone in your home or office? A Wi-Fi repeater can help. Don't buy a new one, though. Here is how to extend Wi-Fi range with another router you have lying around.
Deals

Here are the best laptop deals for December 2018

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some holiday shopping for a special someone, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Computing

Go hands-free in Windows 10 with speech-to-text support

Looking for the dictation, speech-to-text, and voice control options in Windows 10? Here's how to set up Speech Recognition in Windows 10 and use it to go hands-free in a variety of different tasks and applications within Windows.
Computing

Microsoft could split up search and Cortana in the next Windows 10 release

In the latest Insider preview build, Microsoft is exploring ways to split up Cortana and search on Windows 10. If Microsoft moves ahead with this change, we could see separate search and Cortana options in the Spring 2019 Update.
Computing

Microsoft’s latest patent paves the way for Andromeda dual-screen mobile device

The latest patent discovery from Microsoft showcases a new hinge design for quickly opening a dual-screen mobile device with a single hand. Could this be additional proof surrounding the rumors of the company's Project Andromeda device?