Visible to the public MinerRay: Semantics-Aware Analysis for Ever-Evolving Cryptojacking Detection

TitleMinerRay: Semantics-Aware Analysis for Ever-Evolving Cryptojacking Detection
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsRomano, A., Zheng, Y., Wang, W.
Conference Name2020 35th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE)
Date Publishedsep
KeywordsBrowsers, cryptography, cryptojacking, cryptomining, Focusing, Hash functions, Human Behavior, Metrics, pubcrawl, resilience, Resiliency, Runtime, Semantics, Systematics, Webassembly
AbstractRecent advances in web technology have made in-browser crypto-mining a viable funding model. However, these services have been abused to launch large-scale cryptojacking attacks to secretly mine cryptocurrency in browsers. To detect them, various signature-based or runtime feature-based methods have been proposed. However, they can be imprecise or easily circumvented. To this end, we propose MinerRay, a generic scheme to detect malicious in-browser cryptominers. Instead of leveraging unreliable external patterns, MinerRay infers the essence of cryptomining behaviors that differentiate mining from common browser activities in both WebAssembly and JavaScript contexts. Additionally, to detect stealthy mining activities without user consents, MinerRay checks if the miner can only be instantiated from user actions. MinerRay was evaluated on over 1 million websites. It detected cryptominers on 901 websites, where 885 secretly start mining without user consent. Besides, we compared MinerRay with five state-of-the-art signature-based or behavior-based cryptominer detectors (MineSweeper, CMTracker, Outguard, No Coin, and minerBlock). We observed that emerging miners with new signatures or new services were detected by MinerRay but missed by others. The results show that our proposed technique is effective and robust in detecting evolving cryptominers, yielding more true positives, and fewer errors.
Citation Keyromano_minerray_2020