Google Play Store Invaded by a New Malware for "Illegal" Mining of Bitcoins

A new malware which was termed as BadLepricon is making its way in “illegally mining” bitcoins using smartphone apps.


New York, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/05/2014 -- Lookout, a San-Francisco based mobile security firm discovered a strain of malware called BadLepricon which run within apps mining bitcoins while hurting its own presence and protecting the victim’s phone from fast battery loss.

BadLepriceon hides itself as a package of cheap wallpapers in the Google Play store including Urban Pulse Live Wallpaper, Mens Club Live Wallpaper, Epic Smoke Live Wallpaper, and Beating Heart Live Wallpaper. Although these mentioned wallpapers were already removed, the malware is still suspected to be still hiding in similar apps from notorious publishers.

In March, two similar malwares called CoinKrypt and ANDOIDOS KAGECOIN had their invasion via hiding themselves in Google Play store apps. These malwares both used mobile phones to dig for digital currencies. Unsuccessful though, the mentioned programs were merely confined to lower-value currencies like Dogecoin and Litecoin requiring a lesser processing power to generate.

As compared to CoinKrypt and ANDOIDOS KAGECOIN (which were identified easily because they were causing overheating and devastation of a phone’s battery life), BadLepricon works via entering into an endless sphere where every five seconds, it checks battery level and connectivity, and if the smartphone’s display is on. Once the battery level reached more than 50% full, the display is turned off and the phone will be connected to the network. It was then the malware will start its process of “bitcoin mining”. The malware will run the necessary calculations to make the bitcoins work while getting a share of the result of the bitcoin mining process.

Lookout said that “BadLepricon doesn't seem to have been a roaring success on that score: Google promptly removed five of these applications after we alerted them to the issue. The apps had between 100-500 installs each at the time of removal”. This being said, the bitcoins are designed makes it more difficult for the “mining” process in that even the prevailing 2014’s smartphones seem to be frail in computing power for mining. BadLepricon’s goal is to mimick the power of many devices which are running on several software without the knowledge of the owners of the smartphones.

BadLepricon is designed in such a way that its description, terms and conditions contain jargons so users would not easily notice that their smartphones are used as mining devices.

Approximately 600 quad-core servers running endlessly is needed to mine 0.4 of a single Bitcoin, as what Lookout postulated. So this means it would take a number of smartphones to run in order to produce similar results. Bitcoin price is now at $455, making BadLepricon not seemingly harmful to smartphone users nor useful to its innovator. But then, smartphone users are still better off without this malware. Anyone who noticed any unknown apps being downloaded must remove them right away and run a mobile security app for protection against malware as a first line of defense.

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