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Government Sites Caught Cryptojacking Off People's Computers, Crypto Malware Infects 4200 Sites

12 February 2018

Information security blogger Scott Helme discovered the hack via the UK Information Commissioner's Office website on the weekend.

It was only a few hours ago when I reported that the United Kingdom government has been hit with cryptocurrency mining malware, but now a bunch of Australian government websites have been compromised.

According to the Register, all of the afflicted websites ran British tech company Texthelp's Browsealoud plugin, which reads out websites for people with visual impairments like full or partial blindness or conditions like dyslexia.

The exploit was online for four hours in the early hours of Monday, during which time most Australians would have been asleep, and probably not accessing government websites.

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Hackers inserted a script called Coinhive, the makers of Browsealoud, Texthelp, has confirmed.

The UK's National Cyber Security Centre is investigating the incident.

"Texthelp has in place continuous automated security tests for Browsealoud, and these detected the modified file and as a result the product was taken offline", Texthelp chief technology officer Martin McKay said in a statement. Coinhive hijacks the processing power of a user's computer to mine Monero.

The malware have infected government sites on Sunday after a browser plug-in made by a third-party was compromised.

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Some of the affected websites have been taken offline as Whitehall IT experts battle to defeat the code.

"The company has examined the affected file thoroughly and can confirm that it did not redirect any data, it simply used the computers CPUs to attempt to generate cryptocurrency".

"This removed Browsealoud from all our customer sites immediately, addressing the security risk", he said.

"Texthelp can report that no customer data has been accessed or lost".

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In December The Guardian reported that almost 1 billion visitors to the video sites Openload, Streamango, Rapidvideo and OnlineVideoConverter were also being crypto-jacked.

Government Sites Caught Cryptojacking Off People's Computers, Crypto Malware Infects 4200 Sites