Android Apps Mining For Digital Currency Using Your Device Without Your Permission

March 27, 2014 - Written By Ray Greer

There are apps out there for both Apple and Android devices, that take the computing power of your device and put it to use when you aren’t. HTC recently announced the Power to Give app, which with a few tweaks of the settings, could be turned on only while charging and only while the screen is off. Then there are apps that you download that are using your devices computing skills for something different, mining digital currency.

Everything good in this world could be corrupted, and computing is one of them. Our devices have a power that can go without notice while charging or while we are asleep. HTC’s Power to Give app helps that by using your device to compute data for research in charitable efforts. However there are reasons they do it at certain times and essentially with your permission. The computing power can be over-heated, which causes the device to literally over heat, slow down, and the battery could drain noticeably faster. However, taking that idea, and assuming that while your device is charging, you most likely aren’t using it, is exactly what two apps did that kept them hidden while they used your device to mine digital currency. Though hiding it from you while charging doesn’t change the amount of bandwidth the process takes, nor would it prevent overheating.

These two apps were Songs, downloaded somewhere between 1 million to 5 million times, and Prized, which was downloaded 10,000 to 50,000 times. One of the biggest reasons these apps did things under the cover of you charging your device, was because they had no mention of the mining in the terms. The computing capabilities of a smart phone just aren’t made for such intense computing as mining according to Trend Micro Mobile Threats Analyst Veo Zhang.

The process of mining is even a lot for some PC’s, taking up a large amount of electricity and overheating CPUs and GPUs. Imagine what it would do to a smartphone’s computing system. Even worse news, there are plenty of apps that have done and are doing this currently. LookOut Mobile processed a report stating they have found similar apps mining for digital currency as well. These apps are quickly becoming the newest form of threat in the digital world and given their disguise, they are hard to spot. Some things to remember, if your data bill seems high, or data limits reached to fast, take a look at your bills, find out what exactly is going on, and stay aware. If you’re having battery issues, be sure to check out what is using up all of your battery, even while charging. Ask yourself, should these apps be taken that much battery? If not, we think you can live without an app called Songs. There is also the one thing you can remember, though they are mining digital currency from your device, it is not very fast. It is like finding a piece of a penny on the ground and searching for the rest of the pieces. Where they make their money, is in how many downloads they get, more downloads equals more penny pieces found.