In just 24 hours, 5,000 Android devices are conscripted into mining botnet

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A fast-moving botnet that appeared over the weekend has already infected thousands of Android devices with potentially destructive malware that mines digital coins on behalf of the unknown attackers, researchers said.

The previously unseen malware driving the botnet has worm-like capabilities that allow it to spread with little or no user interaction required, researchers with Chinese security firm Netlab wrote in a blog post published Sunday.

Netlab’s laboratory was scanned by infected devices from 2,750 unique IPs in the first 24 hours the botnet became active, a figure that led researchers to conclude that the malware is extremely fast moving.

“Overall, we think there is a new and active worm targeting Android systems’ ADB debug interface spreading, and this worm has probably infected more than 5,000 devices in just 24 hours,” Netlab researchers wrote.

As noted earlier, Netlab researchers are withholding some details, but they did provide one potential clue when they said some of the infection code relies on Mirai, the malware that compromises routers and other Internet-of-Things devices by guessing default administrator passwords.