Cryptomining malware supersedes ransomware in 2018: report
The decrease in ransomware attacks could be due to the simplicity and convenience of cryptojacking.
A new mid-year research report has revealed that there has been significantly more malicious cryptomining, commonly referred to as “cryptojacking”, than ransomware attacks during the first half of the year.
The report, Vulnerability and Threat Trends 2018, is an analysis of current vulnerabilities, exploits and threats that exist in the ever-changing cyber landscape. The publishers, Skybox Security, also outline defense strategies.
Cryptomining malware accounted for nearly one third (32%) of all attacks between January and June 2018. This same statistic was true of ransomware attacks during the second half of last year. However, in the first half of 2018, less than one in ten (8%) cyber attacks employed ransomware.
If 2017 was the year of ransomware, 2018 looks likely to go down as the year of cryptominers. Malicious cryptomining made up nearly a third of attacks in the first half of 2018 – a statistic held by ransomware in the last half of 2017.
Skybox Security: Vulnerability and Threat Trends 2018
Remote access trojan attacks (17%) and botnet malware (12%) also saw increases in the first half of this year, compared to the second half of 2017. However, the report found that all other types of malware attacks diminished over the same period. This may indicate that illicit cryptomining is simpler and more profitable.
The decrease in ransomware attacks could be due to the fact that in order to successfully pull off a ransomware heist, the victim needs to lack reliable backups. Victims must also have quick, easy access to cryptocurrency
and trust the attacker to uphold their promise of returning what was seized or stolen in the first place.
“For many threat actors, ransomware has ultimately become more trouble than it’s worth. Especially with the rise of cryptocurrency miners which eliminate the issue of uncooperative victim,” according to the report.
Software company Check Point revealed that every 10 minutes, bitcoin commits a new block of transactions to its ledger and awards 12.5 BTC to its miner. At bitcoin’s current exchange rate ($7,400), that’s around
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The report explains that cryptomining uses computational power to create new blocks on the blockchain. As more blocks are added to the chain, more power is required. Cryptojacking is the act of utilizing other people’s computer power to mine cryptocurrencies without permission. It’s also often able to run undetected.
To avoid cryptomining attacks, the reports suggests people remain vigilant about how their computer operates, beware of phishing emails containing suspicious links or malware file attachments and download responsibly. Patching vulnerabilities, particularly on high-value servers, is a security solution for businesses.
“Organizations and individuals can also block browser–based cryptomining software by installing a plugin to warn you when a site is trying to use your machine to mine or that blocks the mining domains,” the report said.
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