Cryptojacking has overtaken ransomware and taken its place as the top malware in countries across the world including Turkey and all across Africa and the Middle East, according to a recent report by Bloomberg.
Cryprtojacking is defined as the malicious and criminal act of using another person’s hardware to mine cryptocurrency without the user’s permission. Its advantage lies in the fact that if executed deftly, it is almost impossible to notice and infects a computer when the victim downloads an unsuspecting, but fake private mining software that has been carrying the malware. The ease of its use and the relative undetectability attracts hackers especially in the regions mentioned above.
Cybersecurity giant Kaspersky conducted research this year that concluded by reporting that the cryptojackings in the regions have grown to almost four times as compared to what it was last year. Last year it was around3.5 million cases a year, which has since gone up to around 14 million.
Smartphones are not generally a target of such malwares as they almost never have enough processing power to mine Bitcoin, but there has also been a recent uptick in cryptojacking through smartphones too. Apart from targeting personal computers and dedicated mining hardware, cryptojacking in smartphones has increased by 9.5% from 2017 to 2018.
Kaspersky also reported in November that another reason for cryptojacking to overtake ransomware as a top malware is because of the reluctance of people from developing markets to pay the ransom. It saves trouble when ‘free’ profit can be generated simply and immediately by having the victim downloading a certain malware ‘by accident’.
Even through cryptojacking’s in the spotlight due to the recent rise in attacks, it is not the only crime involving cryptocurrency. Attackers have noticed that considerable playerbase for the video game ‘Fortnite,’ as has the rest of the world and they have already started exploiting the numbers to have unsuspecting victims download malware that steals their Bitcoin wallet addresses.
Experts say that there are many ways to defend oneself from malicious software. One solution is implementing the standard defense tactics by being cautious of e-mails containing attachments or messages from people that are not from credible sources. Additionally, it must be made sure that softwares on devices are always up to date so that the security definitions are fresh so that cybercriminals cannot exploit the flaws that exist in the older versions of the software.