Cryptocurrency miners hijack UK government websites

Security researcher Scott Helme found more than 4,000 websites, including many belonging to the UK government, were infected with Coinhive, code that mines the cryptocurrency Monero. Among the sites affected were those belonging to the Information Commissioner's Office, the Student Loans Company, and Barnsley Hospital. The hackers resopnsible had tampered with the Browsealoud plug-in, used by many websites to help give access to visually impaired people. The rapid rise in cryptocurrency prices has provided motivation for hackers to use others' computing resources and electrical power for mining operations. The mining software only runs while the visitor is actively visiting an infected site. Users' systems should be unaffected other than slowing down while the cryptocurrency software is running. A Coinhive blocker add-on is available for Firefox and Chrome; blocking JavaScript also protects against this type of software.
tags: Coinhive, cryptocurrency, Browsealoud, hacking attacks, UK, trust, malware
Writer: Rory Cellan-Jones
Publication: BBC