A number of applications on the Microsoft Store were flagged by Symantec and reported to Microsoft, as those were deemed a security threat to Microsoft users. As a result, those were removed by Microsoft from their store. These apps were said to be mining Monero, a form of cryptocurrency.
This security threat was discovered on January 17, 2019. The identified apps, which were found to have come from the developers Findoo, DigiDream, and 1clean, appeared on the Microsoft Store between the months of April and December of the previous year.
It is noted that the Microsoft Store comes pre-installed with Microsoft's latest widespread operating system, Windows 10, making it easier for users to find and install such applications. According to Symantec, a cybersecurity software and service company, when the identified apps listed below were downloaded from the Store, installed, and clicked on, those would proceed to steal a CPU's power for the purpose of mining the aforementioned cryptocurrency.
In that time frame mentioned, the number of downloads and installations for these eight apps (which in all likelihood could have come from a common developer or developers), namely, Desktop Search, FastTube, Battery Optimiser, Downloader for YouTube Videos, Findoo Mobile and Findoo Browser 2019, Fast-Search Lite, VPN Browser+, and Clean Master+, cannot be quantified. A large number of users may have downloaded these before these were removed from the Store.
But there were 1,900 ratings that were posted for these cryptojacking applications, although this is still not a clear indication of how many users may be affected, because there are also ways to manipulate such ratings. That in itself shows just how great the potential for a security threat is.
So Microsoft is ringing those alarm bells for Windows 10 users to be vigilant. Whenever these apps have been installed, those need to quickly be uninstalled and removed, and a trusted security app run.
Vigilance is very important in catching cryptojacking software; sometimes, it may come in the form of slowing Internet service or devices performing poorly or slower, or battery life running out faster and much warmer than usual.
It is also necessary to install updates on software and back up valuable data as frequently as possible. Apps must be chosen with care from trusted sources and permissions to install those apps checked closely before clicking. Memory, as well as CPU usage, should be monitored closely.
It is also a prudent idea to install a security app which is reliable in order to protect and secure important data.