Russian President Vladmir Putin’s internet adviser Herman Klimenko recently told a domestic broadcaster that nearly a quarter of the country’s computers are infected with crypto mining malware, a claim that was immediately called false by another Russian official and several cybersecurity firms.
“It is estimated that 20 to 30 percent of devices are infected with this virus”, Klimenko said according to Moscow-based news service RBC. The malware is used to mine valuable crypto currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
However, not everyone in the Russian government agrees with these claims.
Dmitry Marinichev, who serves as Russia’s internet ombudsman, told the RBC that Klimenko’s claims were “nonsense”, adding that such a scale of infection would be hard to miss. Other security professionals agreed.
“If it were about 20 to 30 percent, it would be an epidemic and everyone would know about it,” Vyacheslav Medvedev, an analyst for Doctor Web, told the publication. There are infections by miners, but it’s impossible to say that they are infected with a third of users.”
Kaspersky Lab researchers didn’t dispute the claims and acknowledged the malware has been common problem, but not to the same extent as Klimenko claimed. The firm said it doesn’t have information for all computer s in Moscow and only speak for the infections detected on its user’s systems.
“Among them, 6 percent in 2017 were attacked in order to install the miners, which makes this a fairly common type of malicious programs,” said Kaspersky Lab researcher Anton Ivanov.