Facebook users in Vietnam have been warned of malicious software that is being spread across the social media’s messaging app Messenger under the guise of a compressed ‘.zip’ file.
Upon being downloaded the malware can turn the victim’s computer into a bitcoin mining machine without their knowledge.
Vu Ngoc Son, vice president of Hanoi-based cyber security firm Bkav, said the malware spreads by sending a .zip file through Messenger to all friends of an infected account.
The compressed file contains a fake video-format file that when opened will infect the victim’s computer with the malicious program.
In case the victim uses Google Chrome as their web browser, the malware will silently install an extension to continue spreading the .zip file through Messenger to everybody in the person’s Facebook friend list.
Once infected, the computer in question will experience slow performance as the malware exploits its resources to mine digital ‘coins’ known as cryptocurrency.
Cyber security experts advise against opening suspicious files received via the messaging app to avoid contracting the malware, which goes by the name of CoinMiner.
Son recommends upgrading antivirus software to defend their devices against the new threat.
Last month, internet users in Vietnam were warned of a similarly malicious program hiding on websites that ‘steal’ the computing resources of visitors’ devices in order to mine the cryptocurrency Monero for hackers.
The program, known as CoinHive, also exploited devices’ computing power to solve puzzles and problems in a crytocurrency’s systems and ‘mine’ the digital coins.