Microsoft Discovers Crypto Mining Script in Kobe Bryant's Photo

Shailesh  |  Jan 31, 2020

People behind cybercrime have not hesitated to cash in on the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, who was an American professional basketball player. Microsoft Security Intelligence has recently found a crypto-mining script in the late basketball player's wallpaper photograph.  

While the world mourns the loss of an NBA legend, cybercriminals are, as expected, taking advantage of the tragedy. We found a malicious HTML file posing as a Kobe Bryant wallpaper that contains a coin mining script.

The Use Of Steganography

Steganography has been used by bad actors. It is an ancient method of hiding a file within another file, to conceal crypto-mining script within the photos of notable people. The crypto-mining script has victimized several celebrities. According to some reports, MyKingz, a mining botnet was recently discovered in an image of Taylor Swift, a popular American pop star. Her picture included an .EXE file that, if executed, could use victim's computer resources to mine privacy coin Monero (XMR). Hackers also have concealed malware in an image of Scarlett Johansson, an actress who was nominated for Oscar. 

Why Celebrity Images Are On Target

While it might be puzzling many on why hackers would seek the photos of these celebrities, this has actually been one of the most natural ways to install the crypto-mining script on one's computer. Only a few antivirus software had been able to identify such malicious code in authentic image files, which plays right into the hands of hackers.  

The crypto-mining scripts were not just games and fun for cybercriminals. Cryptojacking has always been a very lucrative business with MyKingz creators through which they earned about $2.3 million.

Cryptojacking Has Become A Major Concern

Cryptojacking or illegal crypto-mining has become a significant concern. There have also been some cases that came from US Department of Justice (DOJ), in which some citizens have stealthily mined cryptocurrency on computers of other people and sold the personal data of their victims on the dark web for years. Also, Monero (XMR) was mined stealthily through eight cryptojacking apps that were already removed from Microsoft Store.

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