Malware has led to the loss of billions of dollars globally, but as one teenager found out, it can also cause physical harm. The teen is nursing injuries after his computer got infected with crypto-jacking malware, overheated, and burnt his hand.
Abdelrhman Badr, an 18-year-old resident of Sheffield, England, was engrossed in a video game when his computer suddenly shut down. This was unusual, and so he reached down instinctively to inspect his computer. As he told the BBC, his graphics card was so hot that he burnt his fingers.
Not a Routine Shutdown
Badr thought that his computer had malfunctioned and didn’t give it much thought. A few days later, he was checking his computer activity and accidentally left the program he was using running overnight.
When I next checked I found that my computer had been sending loads of information back to a strange website I’ve never visited or heard of.
He later came to find out that hackers had infected his computer with crypto-jacking malware. The website his computer was communicating with was set up to collect the mined cryptos. The hackers were mining Monero, a privacy coin that has become the de-facto crypto for crypto-jackers.
In retrospect, Badr should have realized something was wrong three weeks before the incident, he told the BBC. This was when he had started noticing some strange behavior with his computer.
Whenever I put my PC to sleep, the screens would go blank but I could still hear the fans running; and when I came back to it, it would just open up to the main desktop with none of the usual login page or anything. My computer wasn’t actually going to sleep at all.
U.S Congress Expresses Concern
Crypto-jacking is just one in a sea of malware that’s becoming a concern for enterprises and governments alike. The U.S Congress recently held a virtual roundtable on cyber threats amid the coronavirus pandemic. The outlook is bleak, many of the members who attended confirmed.
Emmanuel Cleaver, the chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security in Congress summed it up,
It seems that we are losing this battle.