Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC) 2018

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RAPID: Resource and API-Based Detection Against In-Browser Miners

Direct access to the system's resources such as the GPU, persistent storage and networking has enabled in-browser crypto-mining. Thus, there has been a massive response by rogue actors who abuse browsers for mining without the user's consent. This trend has grown steadily for the last months until this practice, i.e. CryptoJacking, has been acknowledged as the number one security threat by several antivirus companies.

Considering this, and the fact that these attacks do not behave as JavaScript malware or other Web attacks, we propose and evaluate several approaches to detect in-browser mining. To this end, we collect information from the top 330.000 Alexa sites. Particularly, we used real-life browsers to visit sites while monitoring resource-related API calls and the browser's resource consumption, e.g. CPU.

Our detection mechanisms are based on dynamic monitoring, so they are resistant to JavaScript obfuscation. Furthermore, our detection techniques can generalize well and classify previously unseen samples with up to 99.99\% precision and recall for the benign class and up to 96\% precision and recall for the mining class. This indicates their applicability as a server-side approach, e.g. to support the enhancement of existing blacklists.

Last but not least, we evaluated the feasibility of deploying prototypical implementations of some detection mechanisms directly on the browser. Specifically, we measured the impact of in-browser API monitoring on page-loading time and performed micro-benchmarks for the execution of some classifiers directly within the browser. In this regard we ascertain that, even though there are engineering challenges to overcome, it is feasible and beneficial for users to bring the mining detection to the browser.

Juan David Parra Rodriguez
University of Passau

Joachim Posegga
University of Passau


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