Hacks and ransomware attacks continue to pose a big threat to the emerging blockchain and crypto industry, with multiple exchanges, crypto networks, and individuals hacked and millions worth of digital assets stolen or paid in ransom.
In these cases, criminals attack or gain illegal access and either steal cryptocurrencies or demand for crypto as payment, most often making off with millions of dollars worth of crypto from victims.
Bad actors will unlikely vacate the space any time soon, given reports of increased cases of malicious attempts.
However, according to a new report, cybercriminals out for financial gains are reportedly beginning to shift towards more discrete ways of carrying out their attacks. As IT news outlet ComputerWorld reports, cryptojacking is quickly becoming a favorite of most criminals seeking to steal crypto.
Per a blog post report by cybersecurity firm Darktrace, incidents of cryptojacking attacks had increased by 78 percent in 2018 compared to attempts in the previous year. ComputerWorld points out that the trend in 2019 is much similar to that of last year.
According to Max Heinemeyer, the lead threat hunter at Darktrace, the situation is exacerbated by the fact that a lot of times, most ransomware victims do not pay the demanded Bitcoin (BTC) or crypto ransom. As such, attackers are finding cryptojacking to be more appealing.
Heinemeyer added that the preference for cryptojacking is its ability to generate and guarantee profits, though these may be “low and slow.” This is not always the case with ransomware, he noted.
The ComputerWorld article also quotes the Darktrace researcher as saying that at the moment, entry barriers for one to create malware for cryptojacking are quite low.
Alternatives to crypto mining bugs, like stealing user details from credit cards are becoming unpopular because criminals then have to rely on money laundering networks to evade law enforcement.
Instances of cryptojacking include the case of a U.K. company whose 400+ devices got infected by a mining malware following a phishing attack. A worker at a major European bank also reportedly installed some mining device at a data center, ostensibly using it to secretly mine crypto.
Monero (XMR) has been cited as the most preferred coin for cryptojacking attacks, mainly due to the ease of mining that doesn’t require specialized hardware.
For example, a recent report revealed that most of the 400 Docker virtualization software servers deemed vulnerable to attacks actually mined Monero.
Microsoft was also forced to remove about eight applications for Windows 10 from the firm’s official app store following reports of a stealthy Monero (XMR) mining bug.
Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.