Cybercriminals have always been financially motivated and cryptocurrency mining is the latest trend in generating revenue by abusing the same age-old malware attack vectors previously associated with ransomware dissemination. The recent Bitcoin craze, with the currency peaking at $19,000 per unit, has focused cybercriminals on crypto mining, instead of traditional ransomware. In fact, crypto currency-enabled malware is increasingly outdoing ransomware in popularity, with the rise in adoption picking up significantly in the past six months.
Bitdefender’s telemetry has been studying this phenomenon and today releases an in depth report into the ways cybercriminals are targeting cryptomining. Cryptojacking Whitepaper which will teach more about the emergence of cryptocurrency as a security concern.
- The true magnitude of the problem – One of the most interesting attacks involved the use of industrial control systems. The industrial control systems, supervisory control and data acquisition servers of a water utility in Europe were used for the first time to mine Monero. A scary thought
- Impact in the data centre – The more cryptocurrency has been mined, the more resource-intensive the process becomes. This makes it unfeasible for cybercriminals to target and control pools of individual users. It is expected that large data centers and cloud infrastructures are next in line
- Country-by-country breakout of cryptomining and how it compares to the trend in ransomware reporting
One reason for the growth of crypto mining is from the emergence of browser-based web scripts that make it easy for cybercriminals to compromise high-traffic websites and plant cryptocurrency mining script. This is often done instead of deploying traditional spear phishing campaigns to infect a large number of victims, as ransomware does.