Players of the widely popular game League of Legends (LoL) in the Philippines faced a predicament after a significant cryptocurrency mining malware came to light on July 11, 2018.
Garena+ Client Causes Havoc
Daily eSports detailed the latest instance of the widespread mining attack, a first-of-its-kind. LoL players in the Philippines discovered a particular Garena client containing a malicious cryptocurrency mining function silently working in the background, connected to the infamous Coinhive software used to mine Monero (XMR).
Filipino Reddit user, u/Lestergonzaga, first discovered the Coinhive malware and immediately brought it to the attention of LoL’s subreddit. The post quickly gained traction and over 12,600 upvotes at the time of writing.
Users singled out Garena’s invasive system permissions which allow it to run any adware or software after installation. Gamer, Rainmaker2727, added that the Garena+ client “runs 24/7,” allowing it to illicitly mine cryptocurrencies irrespective of a user playing LoL or not.
Interestingly, Garena was primarily held responsible for this activity, with several users claiming the issue was not localized to the Philippines. Some voiced the malware issue on various Facebook gaming groups.
(Source: Daily eSports)
Group Mitigates Code
The LoL Philippines Facebook page swiftly responded to the issue and released a statement regarding the incident. The group stated:
The group noted no theft of sensitive information took place during the incident and that their engineers were successful in identifying and mitigating the unauthorized mining code.
However, the issue remains a significant cause of concern for the gaming community. Hackers were quickly able to infiltrate a major gaming client’s server to run the illicit code, potentially reaching millions of computers to conduct mining activity.
In this regard, the community called for “stricter and increased security measures” before the much-awaited 2018 Asian Gaming event, voicing concerns of the competition becoming a playground for “Monero, Bitcoin, and Ethereum mining.”