Hackers are able to generate profit through crypto-jacking.
Those that visited the compromised websites would have their computer hardware hijacked in order to mine Monero for the perpetrators.
In Australia, the crypto-jacking attack hit the official website of the Victorian parliament, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the Queensland ombudsman, the Queensland Community Legal Centre homepage, and the Queensland legislation website, which lists all of the state's acts and bills. The Queensland legislation website had taken further steps to get rid of the malicious script.
A list of 4,200-plus affected websites can be found here: they include The City University of NY (cuny.edu), Uncle Sam's court information portal (uscourts.gov), Lund University (lu.se), the UK's Student Loans Company (slc.co.uk), privacy watchdog The Information Commissioner's Office (ico.org.uk) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (financial-ombudsman.org.uk), plus a shedload of other.gov.uk and.gov.au sites, UK NHS services, and other organisations across the globe.
The problem stems from a website plug-in called Browsealoud that helps blind and partially sighted people access the web.
Hackers used the same browser plug-in that the United Kingdom government was exposed with, Browsealoud, with the developers of the extension, Texthelp, confirming hackers infused crypto mining software Coinhive into their extension. Coinhive hijacks the processing power of a user's computer to mine the cryptocurrency Monero.
'The affected service has been taken offline, largely mitigating the issue.
"If you want to load a crypto miner on 1,000+ websites you don't attack 1,000+ websites, you attack the 1 website that they all load content from", Helme wrote on his blog.
Texthelp, the company that provides Browsealoud, has confirmed that the compromised plugin has been taken offline.
Other government sites affected include Victoria's City of Casey council, Western Australia's City of Bayswater council, South Australia's City of Unley council, and the office of the Queensland Public Guardian, which protects the rights of young children in care.