Cryptojacking Is Gearing Up To Be The Next Big Thing
Unlawful crypto mining, also known as cryptojacking, is taking the digital landscape by storm, secretly introducing itself into cryptocurrency mining programs of all kinds. The product itself, which may not even be actual malware, devours processor cycles and the electricity they need to process digital cryptocurrency transactions, consequently earning hackers a hefty commission in the anonymous cryptocurrency called Monero.
Cryptojacking software is particularly effective because it doesn’t need a control link for the hacker to connect, and the victim only loses the processing cycle. This has made the exploit popular with cybercriminals who see it as a simple and easy way to steal digital assets. If 2017 was the year of ransomware, 2018 is shaping up to be the year of crypto mining. The malware runs undetected and pulls in profits at the same time—what could be better?
Crypto jackers are now actively looking for more profitable ways to take possession, and they have found them in the servers. Running in corporate and cloud data centers, servers are both immense in number and significantly more powerful than PCs and cell phones—perfect for planting crypto jacking programming. Given the current state of corporate cybersecurity, attacking a server requires a more refined approach than just a pop-up window or other remote organization devices like Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI).
Cybersecurity experts at Kaspersky Lab revealed WMI-based crypto jacking malware named PowerGhost can stealthily set itself up in a corporate system and spread out over vast areas, essentially contaminating both workstations and servers. This style of shrouded consolidation is typical for miners—the longer contaminated machines are allowed to run the malware, the higher the hacker’s profit.
Anti-malware vendor Malwarebytes recently explained more. “We have come across a technique that allows dubious website owners or attackers who have compromised sites to keep mining for Monero even after the browser window is closed,” says Jérôme Segura, Head of Investigations in Malware Intelligence at Malwarebytes Labs. “This type of pop-under is designed to bypass adblockers and is a lot harder to identify because of how cleverly it hides.”
Each CISO must comprehend the importance of this risk and recognize cryptojacking as the newest and best cyber threat confronting corporations today. Smugness and overconfidence are pointless, as a solid cryptojacking endeavor can bring down an entire enterprise and destroy an IT environment, not to mention take all the crypto on the table. Take heed of this warning and watch out for the internet’s newest exploit!