This 'relentless' malware botnet has made millions with a surprisingly simple trick

The long-running botnet known as MyKings is still in business and has raked in at least $24.7 million by using its network of compromised computers to mine for cryptocurrencies. 

MyKings, also known as Smominru and Hexmen, is the world’s largest botnet dedicated to mining cryptocurrencies by free-riding off its victims desktop and server CPUs. It’s a lucrative business that gained attention in 2017 after infecting more than half a million Windows computers to mine about $2.3 million of Monero in a month. 

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Security firm Avast has now confirmed its operators have acquired at least $24.7 million in various cryptocurrencies that have been transferred to Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin accounts. 

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It contends, however, that the group made most of this through its ‘clipboard stealer module’. When it detects that someone has copied a cryptocurrency wallet address (for example to make a payment) this module then swaps in a different cryptocurrency address controlled by the gang. 

Avast claims to have blocked the MyKings clipboard stealer from 144,000 computers since the beginning of 2020: the clipboard stealer module has existed since 2018. 

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