Illicit crypto coin mining up 8,500% in 2017 |

Illicit crypto coin mining up 8,500% in 2017

Peter Terlato 22 March 2018 NEWS

Cyber criminals utilized coin mining files and scripts to willfully steal people’s computer processing power.

The rapid advancement of illegal cryptocurrency coin mining was considered a leading trend in the internet security landscape last year, according to the latest cyber surveillance insights report released this week.

The Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) Volume 23: Insights into the Cyber Security Threat Landscape found that in just four months, detections of coinminers on endpoint computers increased by 8,500% in 2017.

According to the report, a coinminer is a file or script that is used to mine cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Cyber criminals began attempting to turn a profit this way primarily due to the substantial, accelerated rise in the value of cryptocurrencies over the last quarter of 2017, making this form of crime incredibly profitable.

Cyber criminals utilized coin mining files and scripts to willfully steal people’s computer processing power.

The barrier to entry for coin mining is pretty low – potentially only requiring a couple of lines of code to operate – and coin mining can allow criminals to fly under the radar in a way that is not possible with other types of cyber crime. Victims may not even realize a coinminer is slurping their computer’s power as the only impact may be a slowdown of their device that they could attribute to something else.

ISTR Volume 23 Insights into the Cyber Security Threat Landscape

The report reveals that coin mining could potentially cause batteries to overheat and make devices unusable. Aside from individual attacks, coin mining can also affect major organizations. Entire networks may be forced to shut down, while coin mining in the cloud can have bump up costs associated with excessive CPU usage.

Bitcoin mining: Can I make money doing it?

For now, coinminers predominately target computers and mobile phones. However, as malicious activities expand and cryptocurrencies increase in value, cyber criminals may target Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The report observed a 600% spike in overall attacks on IoT devices last year.

In March, lighting company Elite Fixtures conducted a study of global bitcoin mining costs to determine the cheapest countries in which to mine the elusive cryptocurrency. Venezuela was found to be the cheapest.

In January, Virginia Beach pledged $500,000 to help install a bitcoin mine, expected to generate local jobs.

Last month, cybersecurity provider Kaspersky Lab reported that researchers had uncovered malware attacks being executed on cloud-based instant messaging service Telegram, for the purpose of illicit cryptocurrency mining. It was also reported that American electric energy car manufacturer Tesla fell victim to “cryptojacking”.

Earlier this year, Samsung Electronics entered into a contract to manufacture specific-use cryptocurrency mining hardware in order to supply a Chinese company, growing competition in a monopolized market.

You can learn all about different exchanges, understand exactly how to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, calculate your taxes, discover digital wallets to hold assets and explore a list of all the alternative coins on the market.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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