A new report from Russian internet security company Kaspersky Labs states that crypto-focused malware which is easy to produce is increasingly being used.
According to the bulletin from Kaspersky Labs, resources invested in the development of new mining technologies by cybercriminals has increased. After analyzing threats across the year they stated that these cryptojackers and miners are gradually replacing ransomware Trojans.
This is done by installing malware that uses a computer’s processing power to mine for cryptocurrencies without the owner’s consent or knowledge.
The analysts said that the number of unique users attacked by crypto miners grew dramatically in the first three months of 2018. More users were infected in September than in January and the threat is still current, though it is unclear whether the recent collapse in the crypto market’s prices will have an impact on the infection rate.
According to experts, the reason for the decline of general DDoS attacks across the internet is most likely to be the reprofiling of botnets from DDoS attacks to cryptocurrency mining.
Five percent of all Monero coin has reportedly been generated by illegal crypto mining malware because it is popular with illicit actors due to its anonymity, value and the easy exchange options. It has been estimated that illegal Monero mining has earned the cryptojackers around 175 million dollars. The Russia-made mining malware for mining Monero, which was running almost without a trace, has been uncovered by McAfee Labs in mid-November.
Kaspersky warns that it is very easy for cybercriminals to create mining malware due to the availability of the ready-to-use affiliate programs, open mining pools, and miner builders. The internet security firm says:
“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.”
According to Kaspersky, such threats appear less in the US, which only experiences 1.3 percent of all attacks and some areas in Europe. In countries where unlicensed computer software is more common, incidences of mining malware are more frequent. For example, even though cryptocurrency use is restricted in Vietnam, it is experiencing 13 percent of all attacks.
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