Kaspersky Warns About Hackers Focusing on Crypto

According to a new report by cybersecurity company Kaspersky, malwares have become increasingly crypto-oriented and easy to create. Even worse, the malicious programs are going undetected on PCs at home and work.

The company’s annual security bulletin has expressed its concern this year about the surge in new mining technologies. Hackers are investing more time and resources to cryptojacking programs, and as such, they’re replacing the “traditional” ransomware Trojan horses.

This comes at a time when cryptocurrency is on the verge of a breakthrough in adoption across the world, with countries starting to lay down legal frameworks, introducing their digital currencies and even using Blockchain in their systems in some cases. Successful attacks can expose cracks in the security of cryptocurrencies and reduce confidence in them.

Kaspersky noted that hackers are gradually shifting from ransomwares and DDoS attacks to cryptojacking as there’s less competition there. An untapped market, or so to say. It’s also convenient that people are less likely to report cryptocrimes to the authorities.

Cryptomining is also appealing to hackers due to its profitable nature. Although there are moments of a lull when the prices drop, currencies like Monero reportedly have five percent of their coin generated by illicit mining. An estimated $175 million has been earned by hackers from Monero alone in this way. Monero’s popular with hackers due to its anonymity and liquidity of its coins.

Kaspersky’s report stated that the decline in DDoS attacks could be due to “the ‘reprofiling’ of botnets from DDoS attacks to cryptocurrency mining.”

The easy availability of open mining pools and miner builders have made life easy for hackers trying to illicitly mine cryptocurrency. It’s also becoming more and more difficult to trace and identify them. The report states,

“It might be quite a while before the user notices that 70–80% of their CPU or graphics card power is being used to generate virtual coins.”

The report also noted that such attacks are more prevalent in Europe than in the US, where laws regarding cryptocurrencies are more rigidly defined. The United States only faces 1.3 percent of all attacks. Regions, where laws regarding digital information and unlicensed softwares are unregulated, are where these hackers thrive. Vietnam, for example, accounts for 13 percent of all the attacks even though dealing cryptocurrency is illegal in the country.

Also read: Crypto Miners Overtake Ransomware