AndyOS cryptocurrency miner controversy: Android Emulator for PC secretly installs a mining tool
Android app or game developers and enthusiasts who want to use their computer to run the mobile apps, resort to using an emulator on their PCs. One of the most popular ones out there has found itself in a spot of bother. This is the AndyOS cryptocurrency miner controversy, discovered by a reddit user.
You may have heard of Bitcoin, a virtual currency which is one of several cryptocurrencies available today. Anyone with a computer and a good graphics card can let their system run non-stop to mine for the currency.
It is an almost free way to earn money, a greed which has resulted in people building PCs specifically for this purpose. Such users are called miners, and their machines are mining rigs. They are infamous and hated among the PC gaming community, because of miners buying multiple graphics cards for their systems, to earn more money via cryptomining.
Sadly, this has also seen the rise of new malware, also called miners. What happens is, the miner program runs in the background of your computer, and uses its resources which allow the creator of the miner to earn money via mining through your PC. Unethical, very much so?
This miner technique has been used by websites too, which when you visit the page, uses a script to use your PC’s resources to mine cryptocurrency. It has been used in a slightly acceptable way by some VPN services (which offers Premium accounts in exchange), and in atrocious ways how The Pirate Bay was found to secretly use visitor’s PCs for mining.
Let’s get back to the AndyOS cryptocurrency miner controversy. The Android Emulator for PCs has been found to secretly install a mining program, on the user’s computer. There is no official information which declares that the application will do so, and the method it uses to drop the miner on the system is incredibly shady.
When the program is installed, it pings an IP address, which silently downloads and installs the miner in the background, without the user’s permission. And since the miner doesn’t impact your PC like a malware, it is not recognized by antivirus programs.
But still, the secret installation method is close to malware-like behavior, which is why users are upset. The AndyOS cryptocurrency miner can be uninstalled by exiting the app, and using Windows’ Control Panel.
That’s not enough though, you will find a trace of the miner in the Task Manager’s process tab, called “Updater”. You can end the process tree of that program, and go to C:\Program Files (x86) to delete the folders which are named AndyOS and Updater. TopWire‘s post has a lot more information about this malware.
We also recommend scanning the computer using Malwarebytes and your antivirus, to ensure traces of the miner are not on your PC.