We’ve all come a long way, the good people and the black hats and the tech we all depend on. It used to be rainbow tables and dial-up, and most people weren’t online at all. Now your stuff connects to the Internet and phones home — often whether or not you want it to — and how many people do you know who don’t have a smartphone? In perfect lockstep with progress, there now exists a malware vector by which your smartphone can be forced to mine a new cryptocurrency.
The cryptocurrency is called Zcash, and it debuted on October 28. Its developers claim that it’s more anonymous than Bitcoin: “If Bitcoin is like HTTP for money, Zcash is HTTPS.” Zcash started out hot but rapidly declined in value, though it’s still in the top ten most profitable according to CoinWarz.
The malware is comparatively benign, as malware goes. All it does is eat processor time, tie up RAM, and raise your power bill to mine Zcash. But coin mining software will often take up all the RAM you’re not actively using, which means this malware can really kneecap performance. It’s distributed via links for things like pirated software, accordingto Kaspersky researcher Alexander Gostev, and there are around a thousand possibly infected computers so far.