There is strength in numbers, and that is part of what is driving an increase in cryptocurrency mining malware. The idea is to infect as many mobile devices as possible, and tap into the combined computing power to crunch numbers for profit. Unfortunately, this seems to be a trend (on both mobile and PC)—security outfit Trend Micro says it found apps with malicious cryptocurrency mining capabilities on Google Play.
Source: Trend Micro
Trend Micro also found another family of malicious apps that are repackaged versions of legitimate apps. The repackaged versions contain the cryptocurrency malware. These are the ones referred to as ANDROIDOS_CPUMINER, and they come in various forms—one example is a wallpaper application with images of different cars.
It remains to be seen just how lucrative all of this is. In one instance, Trend Micro found that an attacker was mining various cryptocurrencies over an unknown period of time, which tallied up to $170. However, it is not known what the actual profit on that figure is.
The security outfit found dozens of malicious samples, all of which Google has since pulled offline. There will likely be others, so be careful of what you download, and look for signs that an app is misbehaving.