A new cryptocurrency mining campaign called Monero has infected more than 15 million users worldwide.

The campaign, which involves hackers leveraging the XMRig Monero miner, has affected Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America “the worst”.

The attack was found by security researchers from Palto Alto Network, who says the campaign has been active for four months.

According to the researchers, hackers made several updates regarding the cryptocurrency mining malware and tricked site members into clicking on malicious adverts.

‘Digital currencies are a unique opportunity for cyber criminals’

The hack affected over 3,500,000 users in Thailand, over 1,830,000 in Vietnam, and over 1,130, 000 in Egypt.

Ilia Kolochenko, CEO of web security company, High-Tech Bridge, added: “With the steady growth and popularity of digital currencies, we should expect continuous and persistent growth of attacks targeting the wallets and/or installing malware to mine the coins.

“Unlike credit cards, PayPal or bank accounts, digital currencies are a unique opportunity for cybercriminals to use stolen [digital] money without risks of being halted or having their money frozen.

‘No control over digital coins’

“Law enforcement and governments have virtually no control over the digital coins and cannot intervene in the game at the moment.

“Therefore, using all previously available and some emerging techniques of phishing and drive-by-download attacks, cyber criminals will likely focus their efforts on cryptocurrencies in the near future.”