The number of crypto mining malware attacks done by hackers is increasing day by day, with total samples growing by 86% in the second quarter of 2018, based on the latest thread report published by McAfee Labs on September 25.
According to the report, cybersecurity experts said that 2.5 million plus new malware coin miner samples were discovered in Q2. In contrast, the number of crypto malware attacks in Q1 were summed to be about 2.9 million which indicates 629% increase from about 400,000 samples discovered in Q4 of 2017.
More importantly, the report emphasizes the fact that the cybercriminals have found “new angles” of illegal coin mining to gain profits, which is happening along with the increase in popularity of crypto and blockchain community. McAfee Labs also mentioned in the report that, “Don’t Join Blockchain Revolution Without Ensuring Security” to warn users of the rising technologies about the linked risks.
Per Christian Beek, who is the lead scientist at McAfee Advanced Threat Research, the urge to install crypto mining malware in devices other than PCs is increasing because of the fact that these devices are higher in number and consists of weaker security controls.
Beek stated that “A few years ago, we wouldn’t think of internet routers, video-recording devices, and other Internet of Things devices as platforms for crypto mining because their CPU speeds were too insufficient to support such productivity. Today, the tremendous volume of such devices online and their propensity for weak passwords present a very attractive platform for this activity.”
The company also noted that there is sudden growth in the cryptocurrency mining hardware along with a decrease in the ransomware attacks. In the last quarter which is quarter 1, Ransomware attacks are reduced by 32% and crypto malware attacks are increased to 629%. In June 2018, Kaspersky also noted that there is a decrease in ransomware attacks by 30% between 2016-17 and 207-18. Also, there is a decrease in ransomware attacks on mobile by 22.5%.
As per the report titled Blockchain Threat Report, McAfee Labs has put a great emphasis on assuring software updates and patches are developed as this new threats are going to occur:
“It can be costly and time consuming for bad actors to write their own malware. Rather than research and write their own exploits, many malware authors choose publicly disclosed exploits and known vulnerabilities, assuming that a significant number of machines remain unpatched and open for attack.”
Recently, Firefox declared that they will start blocking cryptojacking malware in the upcoming versions of their web browser, along with crypto mining scripts which “silently run cryptocurrencies” on user’s devices.