Introducing the Monero Malware Response Workgroup Website: https://t.co/y8gD9eQDuR
— Monero || #xmr (@monero) September 27, 2018
The effort is part of an aggressive recent campaign by Monero to correct some of the problems its currency has encountered. These troubles include a spike in illicit cryptocurrency mining targeting Monero and other coins and a recently patched bug that would’ve let hackers “burn” exchange wallets and render the accounts unusable. Company contributor Justin Ehrenhofer explains why the company launched the site in Monero’s blog entry:
“While the vast majority of users take advantage of these features for good, some attackers use Monero to earn money from machines without users’ consent. They may run miners on web pages that activate without a user’s consent.”
Ehrenhofer goes on to condemn the use of malware for illicit mining, stating that there are several charitable organizations that use Monero’s currency and that though the Monero network does benefit from more people mining the coin, to turn a blind eye to illicit practices would be morally wrong.
Finding a balance
The central feature of Monero is its mandatory privacy. Transactions on the Monero network are rendered untraceable via ring signatures which hide transaction details on the network. This feature is a double-edged sword in that it protects the privacy of users while potentially masking criminal activity.
The creators of Monero wanted to find a way to help educate its user base on the presence and seriousness of illicit mining while keeping this privacy feature intact. They didn’t want to restrict mining of Monero to physical miners instead of its software program Coinhive, so that decided to launch the site, putting the ability to remove malware in the user’s hands.
What’s on the site?
According to Ehrenhofer’s post, the site explains the basic principles of Monero, and of mining the cryptocurrency, for users who may not know what mining is or that their machines could be vulnerable to exploitation. Secondly, the site hosts resources explaining how to stop illicit in-browser, system, and ransomware mining by identifying and removing malicious software. Says Ehrenhofer:
The website is purposefully approachable to absolute newcomers so that anyone can understand, though it offers actionable information that novices and experts alike can follow.
“It’s our mission to resolve an unfortunate situation as well as possible.”
The site will also be maintained by the Monero workgroup, who will provide support for its users at the channel name #monero-mrw on Freenode, Riot/Matrix, Mattermost, and Slack.
Cover Photo by Jordan Warne on Unsplash