Users have been warned to be careful about clicking on video files shared via Facebook Messenger – due to a sneaky virus which hijacks computers.
The virus, Digmine, takes over users’ PCs and uses the machine’s processing power to ‘mine’ the cryptocurrency Monero – sending money to cybercriminals.
Researchers at Trend Micro warn that the virus spreads in the form of an executable script which resembles a downloadable video file.
If a user clicks in it while using Chrome on a desktop PC, they’re sent to a video streaming site, while the malware downloads.
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The malware mines Monero – a privacy-focused cryptocurrency where transactions are much harder to track than they are on Bitcoin.
Users who have set their browser to log in automatically will also see the virus sent to all their friends via Facebook Messenger.
Trend Micro said, ‘We disclosed our findings to Facebook, which promptly removed many of the Digmine-related links from its platform.
Facebook said, ‘We maintain a number of automated systems to help stop harmful links and files from appearing on Facebook and in Messenger. If we suspect your computer is infected with malware, we will provide you with a free anti-virus scan from our trusted partners.’
The European Union’s law-enforcement agency Europol said in a report that, ‘cryptocurrencies such as monero, ethereum and Zcash are gaining popularity within the digital underground.’
Ransomware attackers are now demanding ransoms in Monero, says Matt Suiche of Dubai security firm Comae Technologies.