Monero Popular Among Criminals

Monero Is Popular Among Criminals, Says A New Study

Two researchers, Guillermo Suarez-Tangil and Sergio Pastrana, published their report last week, measuring that hackers have mined nearly 4.32% of the total Monero in circulation.

The researchers wrote –

“Overall, we estimate there are at least 2,218 active campaigns that have accumulated about 720K XMR (57M USD). Interestingly just a single campaign (C#623) has mined more than 163K XMR (18M USD), which accounts for about 23% of the total estimated. This campaign is still active at the time of writing.”

However, the researchers are not sure whether or not the malware owners have cashed out their crypto, owing to lack of information and the fluctuating prices of cryptocurrencies. The value of the XMR, at press time, total cited is nearly $40 million.

Approximately 4.4 million malware samples were reported over a 12-year period from 2007 to 2018, and 1 million malicious miners were identified, according to the paper.

Tactics adopted to distribute the malware differs, but the pair says –

“Common yet effective approach is to use legitimate infrastructure such as Dropbox or GitHub to host the droppers, and stock mining tools such as claymore and xmrig to do the actual mining.”

After Monero, Bitcoin came in at second favorite cryptocurrency for illicit mining, however, its popularity has decreased over the years.

The malpractitioners experimented with other altcoins like Litecoin or Dogecoin amid 2013 and 2014, and then shifted back to Monero and Bitcoin, since they are more profitable than others.

Monero was 56% more represented than that of Bitcoin, while Zcash grabbed the third spot in this regard.

All the more, for the most part, cases of crypto-mining malware expanded by well more than 4,000% a year ago, as indicated by research from McAfee published on December 2018 – growth that saw it quickly overwhelm the past top pick, ransomware, over the period.