Russian oil pipeline computer hacked to mine Monero coins

The current price of 1 Bitcoin is almost USD 20,000 and those who cannot invest in cryptocurrencies find other ways get some. On Friday 15th December, Russian authorities said that Transneft, a state-owned largest oil pipeline company in the world suffered a cyber attack in which its computers were hacked to generate Monero digital currency.

According to Reuters, company’s spokesman Igor Demin said that a Transneft computer automatically downloaded and deleted the Monero mining code from the web. It is unclear how many coins were generated from the compromised device since limited information has been provided to the media.

“Incidents, where the company’s hardware was used to manufacture cryptocurrency, have been found. It could have a negative impact on the productivity of our processing capacity,” said Transneft Vice President Vladimir Rushailo.

Monero cryptocurrency

Monero is a rival to Bitcoin and eleventh-largest digital currency with a market cap of over $5 billion. The currency recently got attention when The Pirate Bay and NBC’s ShowTime websites were caught using CoinHive javascript code to secretly mine Monero coins using CPU power of visitors’ computer.

CoinHive is a firm that provides cryptocurrency miner, which sends any coins mined by the browser to the owner of the website. However, security firm CloudFlare states that secretly using a cryptocurrency miner is considered as malware, therefore, website owners should provide visitors the option to opt out.

Thousands of websites mining Monero

Last week the website security platform Sucuri reported that there are 5,500 WordPress based websites that are currently infected with malware that not only steals user data but also mine Monero cryptocurrency with CPU power of visitors.

In some cases, researchers discovered that there are websites using “Persistent drive-by cryptomining” technique to mine cryptocurrency from visitors PCs even if they close their tabs. But the bad news does not end here. TrendMicro researchers reported that there are apps on Google Play Store that are infected with cryptocurrency mining code and utilize user’s Android devices to mine Monero.

How to stop CoinHive code from using your CPU power

Since the use of the CoinHive code is increasing, there are several ways to block the code from using your computer. For instance, No Coin and minerBlock extensions available on Chrome web store are developed to block any crypto miners from using your computing power.

The good thing about these extensions is that both are open source and open to the public, you can check out the source code on Github here and here. Also, to check if a website is using your computing power to make money you can go to its source code and simply check for the term “CoinHive” or “Coin Hive.” Happy browsing.


Waqas Amir is a Milan-based cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Waqas is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.