Cryptojacking schemes «demonstrate a remarkable level of technical agility and innovation», according to the latest McAfee security report. They’re up by 629% in Q1 of 2018, with the report citing over 2.9 million known samples.
Put plainly, cryptojacking is a form of hijacking a victim’s device to mine cryptocurrencies. Criminals use the processing power of hundreds of infected machines in order to siphon funds into their wallets. The most widespread form of this is Coinhive mining. It’s a Monero cryptocurrency miner that uses the processing power from the browsers of site visitors.
Often the owners of these sites aren’t even aware that these have been installed. Sites are hacked into, remotely accessed and hijacked, making visitors send Monero to anonymous hackers. There are even instances of rogue employees installing miners on the sites they work for or have access to.
Some attacks are far more elaborate, involving multi-stage malware infections. They figure out whether a given device has Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency-related programs and subsequently take over. As mentioned in the report, criminals are highly innovative and come up with ingenious ways to profit off of cryptocurrencies.
General trend indicates further increase in attack rates
Crypto-related cybercrime is becoming more common, likely because most of these attacks involve no third parties, don’t require much social engineering and are generally more predictable because of it. On the plus side, the rise of these attacks is also bound to spark more innovation in the cybersecurity industry to combat them.
We’re entering a risky environment with cryptocurrencies and it’s important to be mindful about keeping our systems clean and our processing power working for us. We’ve likely only seen the beginning of what cybercriminals are capable of in this space, with more news about hack attacks coming in almost daily.
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