Is your browser mining bitcoin? ‘Malvertisements’ are hijacking Google Ads

google ads cryptocurrency malware hong kong lifestyle bitcoin
Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images
As if invasive ads weren’t bad enough, Trend Micro uncovered a particularly sinister batch of ‘malvertisements’ that aim to exploit Google’s DoubleClick ad service to serve you ads containing hidden cryptocurrency mining software.

“Attackers abused Google’s DoubleClick, which develops and provides internet ad serving services, for traffic distribution. Data from the Trend Micro Smart Protection Network shows affected countries include Japan, France, Taiwan, Italy, and Spain. We have already disclosed our findings to Google,” Trend Micro reports.

As malware goes, it’s actually pretty clever — if also sinister and awful. It operates two separate scripts, one a coinhive cryptocurrency miner, the other a private web miner. Which one it will use is determined by a random number generator. When either one kicks in, it would use 80 percent of the affected computer’s CPU resources for the purposes of mining cryptocurrency.

“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,” Trend Micro reports.

Trend Micro goes on to report that the number of incidents of these malvertisements has gone down since January 24, so we might be in the clear. Still, it might be a good idea to make sure your security apps are all up to date — and make sure your browser has its latest security patches. Chances are Google will get the exploit under control quickly, but there are some countermeasures you can implement in the meantime.

“Blocking JavaScript-based applications from running on browsers can prevent coinhive miners from using CPU resources. Regularly patching and updating software — especially web browsers –can mitigate the impact of cryptocurrency malware and other threats that exploit system vulnerabilities,” Trend Micro recommends.

All right, so how can you protect yourselves from this exploit while Google gets it sorted out? Turns out there are a couple things you can do. First, make sure your browser is up to date. You can do that by heading to your preferences and checking for updates in most modern browsers like Chrome and Firefox. Second, run an adblocker on any site that you feel a little uncomfortable about. Lastly, you can always disable JavaScript entirely, but doing so will break a lot of websites and it’s only a good idea if you’re very worried about your security.

Smart Home

Best Buy zaps price on Nest Secure alarm, Nest Cam, and Google Home Mini bundle

Best Buy zapped the price of Nest smart home security Nest Secure Alarm and Nest Cam Outdoor bundle and added a Google Home Mini. Nest Detect sensors watch your home inside and out. Stream Nest Cam video in real-time or view clips later.
Home Theater

Google brings ad-supported YouTube Music to its Google Home speakers

Hot on the heels of Amazon's announcement that it's adding a free version of its Amazon Music service to Alexa-powered speakers, Google is adding a free, ad-supported version of YouTube Music to Google Home smart speakers.
Gaming

These Xbox One games will let you use your trusty mouse and keyboard

A select number of Xbox One games support mouse and keyboard control schemes, and more are being added in future updates. Here are all the Xbox One games that support mouse and keyboard.
Gaming

Play The Sims 4 the way it was meant to be played using a keyboard and mouse

The Sims 4 recently added keyboard and mouse support on Xbox One and PS4, giving players the chance to experience the game as it was designed. Here is how to use keyboard and mouse in The Sims 4.
Computing

Gaming on a laptop has never been better. These are your best options

Gaming desktops are powerful, but they tie you down to your desk. For those of us who prefer a more mobile experience, here are the best gaming laptops on the market, ranging from budget machines to maxed-out, wallet-emptying PCs.
Computing

Here's how you can download the best free music players for your Mac

Tired of your Mac's default music player? Take a look at our picks for the best free music players available for your Apple rig. Whether you're a casual listener or an audiophile, you're sure to find something that fits your needs here.
Computing

AMD’s 2020 Ryzen CPUs could have a big boost in power efficiency

The sequel to AMD's Zen 2-based Ryzen 3000 CPUs is slated for a 2020 release and when it arrives, could leverage the new Zen 3 architecture to deliver impressive gains to performance and power efficiency.
Computing

Want to make calls across the internet for less? Try these great VOIP services

Voice over IP services are getting more and more popular, but there are still a few that stand above the pack. In this guide, we'll give you a few options for the best VOIP services for home and business users.
Gaming

Transform into the ultimate leader with our tips and tricks for Civilization 6

Civilization VI offers both series veterans and total newcomers a lot to chew on from the get-go. Here are some essential starting tips to help you master the game's many intricacies.
Computing

The iPhone’s Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts could land on Macs this year

For its desktop computers, it appears that Apple may continue to draw from the iPhone for inspiration. iOS 12 features, like Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts, are believed to be making their way to MacOS this year at WWDC in June.
Computing

Dell slashes prices of XPS 13 and Alienware 17 laptops in latest promo

Dell's latest promotion will score you big savings on the XPS 13 or the Alienware 17. The stylish XPS 13's discount is for $430, and only the rose gold model is on sale, while gamers who choose the Alienware 17 will save $860.
Computing

Lenovo’s Yoga C930 sale drops a $650 discount on its 2TB SSD laptop

Lenovo is offering one of its 2-in-1 laptops at a $650 discount. This Lenovo Yoga C930 laptop comes with a 2TB solid-state drive, a digital pen, a fingerprint reader, and a Dolby Atmos sound bar.
Computing

You won't want to miss these deals on some of the best laptops around

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

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Everything you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a few months off, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.