The Internet of things has come of age, with more connected devices joining the grid than ever before. However, if demonstrations by Avast (an Internet antivirus company) are anything to go by, vulnerable devices including smartphones and security cameras could be a target for hackers looking to illegally mine Monero coins.
Who Are Avast and Why Do They Matter?
On Tuesday this week, the Czech entity conducted a demonstration at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress in Spain, where a number of connected devices were able to run crypto mining software.
For the beginner in the crypto space, mining cryptocurrency involves confirming transactions on the network and getting rewards in cryptocurrency. With a hacked network, Avast was able to establish that hackers can connect 15,000 devices, thereby building a collective hash power that enables the mining of cryptocurrencies.
Thanks to the private and anonymous nature of Monero, hackers will probably pick this cryptocurrency as it is hard to trace and boasts of a reputation on the dark web. Avast estimates that it would probably take the hackers about four days of mining to come up with $1000 worth of Monero through such a network.
More Connected Devices in the Future
Even though the $1000 amount in four days seems negligible, considering the total amount of cryptocurrency lost to hackers since the beginning of Bitcoin, future prospects look grim, considering there will be over 20 billion connected devices by the year 2020. In fact, a forecast by Gartner (a research firm) indicates that the number of devices vulnerable to attacks could be much higher, considering an estimated 8.4 billion devices in 2017 alone.
CNBC quotes the CEO of Avast saying that “this ubiquity of devices combined with the fact they are so easy to attack makes them an attractive target”.
Overall, there has been a rising trend rising in incidences where hackers get government funding to hack connected devices and mine Monero. In 2016, a hack on connected devices saw large swathes of Internet dead zones affecting Americans as devices were hacked for mining purposes.
Do you suspect your laptop or smartphone could be mining Monero? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section.