That toolbar you downloaded is malware? Tough, read the EULA

CPU-and-bandwidth-munching Bitcoin miners buried in freeware


Security software vendor Malwarebytes has highlighted what it says is an increasing trend for malware authors to embed Bitcoin mining into things like browser toolbar helpers and search agents. That's not so new, but its latest observation is that the malware-peddlers are trying to tie up suckers with their license agreements.

According to this post, the miner in question is jhProtominer, and it's being installed by a crowd called We Build Toolbars (WBT).

WBT uses a custom installer, Monitor.exe, which it serves up from Amazon, to start up the Bitcoin miner on the user's system – and for people who have been dim enough to install its browser helpers, the sting in the tail is in the EULA:

“As part of downloading a Mutual Public, [the name it uses for the installer – The Register] your computer may do mathematical calculations for our affiliated networks to confirm transactions and increase security. Any rewards or fees collected by WBT or our affiliates are the sole property of WBT and our affiliates.”

It's not only browser helpers that use Monitor.exe and therefore carry the miner and the EULA terms. Malwarebytes also identified Your Free Proxy – a proxy that makes the usual claims about privacy and security – as lumbering users with the unwanted Bitcoin miner, which pinches CPU time and bandwidth. ®

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