The Russian-based security company, Kaspersky Lab, has released a new report on the global outbreak in malicious cryptocurrency mining, revealing that botnets are increasingly being redesigned and used to distribute illicit crypto mining software.
Crypto mining attacks surge by more than 83 percent
According to the report, cryptocurrency mining attacks have increased by more than 83 percent over the past one year. The report further added that over five million people suffered from cryptocurrency mining malware attacks in the first three quarters of the year, which is 2.7 million more than the same period last year. Kaspersky also revealed that the installation and use of unlicensed software and content were the major driving force behind the crypto gold rush this year.
Kaspersky Lab revealed that its research shows that cybercriminals are now investing resources towards the development of new mining technologies. These cryptojackers and miners are slowly replacing ransomware Trojans as the most deadly cryptocurrency mining malware.
Even though the total number of DDoS attacks has declined across the internet, Kaspersky experts believe that this could be due to reprofiling of botnets from DDoS attacks to focus on cryptocurrency mining. According to the security company, illegal cryptocurrency mining is now getting equal or even more attention than ransomware attacks. The area also appears to be less competitive at the moment compared to DDoS since they are less likely to be reported to the authorities.
Hidden mining activity still profitable despite price crash
Cryptocurrency mining still profitable despite the price crash, at least hidden mining is. The report stated that despite the decline in the general cryptocurrency market, hidden mining activity still remains profitable. This has led to five percent of all Monero coin been generated by illegal mining activities.
Kaspersky noted that creating mining malware is easy for cybercriminals considering the fact that ready-to-use affiliate programs, open mining pools, and miner builders are readily available. Cybercriminals also embed illegal mining scripts in websites, a move that still goes largely unnoticed. They warned that “It might be quite a while before the user notices that 70–80% of their CPU or graphics card power is being used to generate virtual coins.”
Cryptocurrency mining malware PowerGhost which identified a few months ago still present problems to cooperate network, Kaspersky cited. In terms of attack by this malware, the threat is less significant in the U.S and Europe. This is due to the low number of unlicensed computer software. Vietnam and other regions where unlicensed software is prevalent, cryptocurrency mining malware attacks are on the rise.