Telegram founder downplays Kaspersky’s crypto mining hack claims
The hackers reportedly used malware to mine Monero, Zcash, Fantomcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Russian cybersecurity provider Kaspersky Lab reported that researchers had uncovered malware attacks being executed on cloud-based instant messaging service Telegram, for the purpose of illicit cryptocurrency mining.
In a release issued today, Kaspersky Lab claimed the vulnerability was used to deliver multipurpose malware which, depending on the computer, can be used either as a backdoor or as a tool to deliver mining software.
Kaspersky’s research noted that the attacks were possible due to a zero-day vulnerability, which can be used by malware creators to mislead users into downloading malicious files disguised, for example, as images.
“As a result, users downloaded hidden malware which was then installed on their computers. Kaspersky Lab reported the vulnerability to Telegram and, at the time of publication, the zero-day flaw has not since been observed in messenger’s products,” according to Kaspersky Lab.
However, despite the claims, Telegram founder Pavel Durov scoffed at Kaspersky’s assertions and reassured users that “this is not a real vulnerability” and that “this kind of vulnerability is based on social engineering”.
“The Kaspersky antivirus company claimed today they found a ‘0-day vulnerability on Telegram for Windows’, which affected ‘1000 users before it was fixed’,” Durov said via posts on his personal Telegram channel.
“As always, reports from antivirus companies must be taken with a grain of salt, as they tend to exaggerate the severity of their findings to get publicity in mass media.”
Durov cited the popular Telegram Geeks channel, where users claimed “no one can remotely take control of your computer or Telegram unless you open a malicious file”.
“So don’t worry, unless you opened a malicious file, you have always been safe,” the users said.
The hackers reportedly used the malware to mine Monero, Zcash, Fantomcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Artifacts discovered during Kaspersky’s research indicated that the cybercriminals had Russian origins.
Crypto mining has become an incredibly lucrative business and in turn, mining malware is more prevalent.
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The city of Virginia Beach has pledged $500,000 to help install a bitcoin mine, expected to generate local jobs.
Several leading colleges throughout the United States now offer dedicated classes examining the increasingly popular cryptocurrency industry and the still-developing blockchain technology that supports it.
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