- Malware program “Smominru” had been modified to “steal system access information for possible sale on the dark web.”
- This malware has already infected half a million computers.
Monero (XMR), the privacy-oriented cryptocurrency, has been plagued by mining malware issues again. Carbon Black, an online security firm, revealed in a report that its Threat Analysis Unit found “a secondary component” in a well-known malware program called “Smominru.” The malware script had been modified to “steal system access information for possible sale on the dark web.” This malware has already infected half a million computers.
According to the researchers:
“This discovery indicates a bigger trend of commodity malware evolving to mask a darker purpose and will force a change in the way cybersecurity professionals classify, investigate and protect themselves from threats.”
Smominru was initially detected in May 2017 and was also detected in January 2018. Last year, researchers at security firm, Proofpoint, confirmed that Smominru had been using a National Security Agency (NSA) exploit. This exploit, known as EternalBlue, infects computers with XMR mining malware.
Regarding the latest iteration of the malware, Carbon Black discovered the modifications when they found “unusual activity” across several endpoints. They found sophisticated, multi-stage malware that was sending detailed system metadata to a network of hijacked web servers.” Back in September 2018, the Monero community members released a blog post condemning all such XMR mining malware attacks:
“[We] condemn this malicious, non-consensual use of equipment to mine (XMR) … The Monero community does not want to sit idly by as victims struggle to understand the impact of mining and ransomware.”
Monero loses ‘quarter of miners’ as network sees successful shift to RandomX
The largest privacy-oriented cryptocurrency, Monero, recently upgraded its network in order to make the network ASIC-resistant. Prior to this upgrade, the network used to see a constant algorithm update to ward off ASIC miners; however, the recent change from CryptoNightR to RandomX promises to keep the network ASIC resistant for a much longer duration. Along with the shift to RandomX, this upgrade included several other changes, such as phasing out long payment IDs.
Notably, this upgrade was one of the topics discussed during the latest session of Monero Talk. Justin Ehrenhofer, a regulatory compliance analyst at DV Trading, provided a brief about the changes that were rolled out in the upgrade that took place on November 30. Justin stated that the upgrade “came with a substantial number of improvements to GUI and CLI release,” including software like MyMonero and Cake Wallet.
Talking about RandomX, he stated,
“[…] RandomX, which is a new proof-of-work algorithm for Monero that is meant to be an ASIC resistant and to provide additional competition essentially within the CPU mining market. So, that’s a very large change to Monero. Of course within GUI, it comes in with better tail support, better user experience support.”
Justin also revealed that this upgrade had bug fixes, stating that Standford researchers “did a timely analysis on ZCash and Monero and the improvements were safely disclosed and patched in the latest Monero release.” In terms of infrastructure, he stated that long payment IDs were “deprecated,” adding,
“Exchanges, wallets, other services upgraded in order to use sub-addresses or integrated addresses, both of which are significantly better especially sub-addresses […] simple node of the GUI, it means that it more easily connects to the rest of the network and in a more decentralized fashion because it automatically finds nodes to connect to […]”
Subsequently, Howard Chu, CTO of Symas Corp, also spoke about the post-scenario of RandomX upgrade. According to him, the “most interesting statistics” was the hashrate and the number of miners, stating that the network lost about a quarter of miners.
“[…] just before the fork, there are about 40,000 unique mining addresses. And right now, we’re at about 27,000-28,000 . So, we’ve lost about a quarter of miners from the upgrade. Now, that number is still slowly increasing, so, that probably means a large number that we’ve lost just didn’t upgrade in time.”
Speaking about the hashrate, Chu stated that, at the time of the interview, it was around 770-780 MegaHash, expecting it to reach at least 1 GigaHash. He said,
“[…] Nvidia GPUs, their performance increases a small amount between Cryptonight and RandomX […] and CPUs generally got 7 to 10 times faster right […] probably what we’re looking at is at least 50 percent of CPUs and probably the hash rate will continue to increase to at least 1 Gigahash per second […]”
Monero Price Analysis for December, XMR Became Less Volatile
After visible fluctuations in the middle of this week, Monero exchange rate reached stability by Friday close to 54.13 USD.
From the technical point of view, on H4 Monero is moving inside the descending channel, thus continuing the formation of descending tendency. At the same time, one should note that after the price updated its lows and there was a convergence on MACD, the instrument resumed growing to break the resistance line. If the price breaks 57.65, it may continue moving towards the upside projected channel and reach 75.50.
If the instrument tests the resistance line and rebounds from it, the price may start a new rising channel with the support level at 51.75. Another thing to confirm the change of the current tendency will be MACD lines’ breaking 0 and fixing above it.
As one can see in the H1 chart, after a divergence on Stochastic, XMRUSD is forming a short-term correction. By now, the instrument has already dropped to 50.0% fibo and then next descending impulse may reach 61.8% fibo.
At the end of November, Monero team reported on the hard fork, when the company implemented an updated mining algorithm. They had to stop using the previous way to mine CryptoNight R coins because it was no longer meeting requirements for efficient mining on mid-tier graphics cards and processors. By improving the algorithm, the company believes that it optimized decentralization parameters and made operation of ASIC and FPGA a bit more complicated.
Apart from changing the mining algorithm, Monero developers improved network anonymity characteristics resulting in a decision to move away from the lengthy payment identification procedure. Also, they changed the approach to indicators of the number of inputs and outputs by the block duration. From now on, incoming transactions are reported to be available only after 10 blocks. In other words, RandomX algorithm must enhance the network security level and improve the mining procedure. However, the question of whether users notice it or not remains open.
Monero Price Analysis: XMR/USD rises from the ashes
Monero stepped above the 100 SMA, however, the 50 SMA is hindering movement around $58.28. The same level happens to form the resistance of the rising triangle. XMR/USD has tried and failed to clear the triangle hurdle.
In other words, if the ongoing correction fails to rise above the triangle resistance, Monero bulls could be demoralized and even hibernate in order to find proper support from which they will launch another attack.
Meanwhile, the RSI is closing in on the overbought and if it continues, Monero is likely to push the gains towards $60. The MACD is hugging the mean line but leaning towards the negative region as an indication of the presence of selling pressure. The bulls must ensure that the support at $50 is defended at all costs.
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