Cyrptocoin Minning Malware On The Rise
In the year 2018, Cryptocoin mining malware has touched 4,000 percent. Maybe, that is one of the reason that we are seeing a decline in ransomware attacks.
As reported in Zednet that according to McAfee’s threat report of December 2018, there were nearly four million new samples of coin miner malware in the third quarter, up from 2.5 million in the preceding quarter.
The new coin mining malware grew nearly 55 percent over the quarter, with total malware growing 4,467 percent over the past year, says McAfee’s report.
In 2017, when ransomware like; WannaCry and NotPetya created a furore with businesses losing billions, the malicious cryptocurrency miners didn’t exceed 250,000. Nevertheless, the first quarter of 2018, McAfee’s count of new crypto-miners hit 2.5 million.
Cryptomining are obviously less harmful than ransomware, it can be a costly affair and disruptive too: the attack on a Canadian university in November after cryptojacking, and how it was forced to shut down its entire network to mitigate the CPU-laboring malware.
The article on Zednet throws and interesting insight on how some examples, like PowerGhost, also disable Microsoft’s built-in antivirus, Windows Defender, exposing infected machines to other malware. Microsoft has also warned that employees looking to benefit off a company’s hardware could also intentionally introduce miners.
The rise of malicious cryptocurrency miners followed 2017’s massive spike in the price of bitcoin, which began the year at $996 and ended it over $13,000. Today, of course, it’s fallen to around $3,500, dragging down other more commonly mined currencies such as Monero.
Alongside the fall in Bitcoin and other currencies, McAfee notes attackers are finding new ways to cash in on vulnerabilities and human weakness. Examples include OSX.Dummy, which was spread in messages on Slack, Telegram, and Discord, purporting to fix crypto problems but instead exposed Mac users to an exploit.
Attackers this year also used a vulnerability in MiktoTik routers to turn 3,700 devices in mining slaves.
“We would not usually think of using routers or IoT devices such as IP cameras or video recorders as cryptominers because their CPUs are not as powerful as those in desktop and laptop computers,” the report said. However, due to the lack of proper security controls, cybercriminals can benefit from volume over CPU speed. If they can control thousands of devices that mine for a long time, they can still make money.
Julia Sowells635 Posts
Julia Sowells has been a technology and security professional. For a decade of experience in technology, she has worked on dozens of large-scale enterprise security projects, and even writing technical articles and has worked as a technical editor for Rural Press Magazine. She now lives and works in New York, where she maintains her own consulting firm with her role as security consultant while continuing to write for Hacker Combat in her limited spare time.