The researchers also discovered that cybercriminals often take legitimate versions of an app, add codes needed to mine cryptocurrencies, and upload the modified software again to the Google Play Store. For example, an app dubbed as the Car Wallpaper HD contains modified cpuminer codes that can mine a variety of cryptocurrencies including Magicoin, Feathercoin, and Vericoin. This app was installed in less than 500 devices, but the developer was able to mine coins with a total value of around $170, despite the small number of downloads.
The researchers from Trend Micro noted that there are doubts about the ability of mobile devices to mine cryptocurrencies. However, Samsung was able to mine Bitcoin using 40 units of the Samsung Galaxy S5, with the manufacturer claiming that eight units of the Galaxy S5 are better at mining Bitcoin than a personal computer equipped with an Intel Core i7 2600 processor. Unfortunately, installing apps with cryptominers can severely impact the performance of the device since the CPU usage will always be exceptionally high, which, in turn, also results in reduced battery life. Trend Micro is advising users to always observe if there is any performance degradation once an app is installed on a device.