Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab are among the most respected names in cybersecurity, and well-versed in the ever-evolving threats posed by cybercriminals. So when Kaspersky report a shift from ransomware-related attacks to crypto-mining malware, the crypto industry needs to pay attention.
On Saturday (June 30) global cybersecurity specialists Kaspersky Lab released a report on their website that drew attention to a significant shift from the more traditional, ransomware-related attacks, to an increasingly popular trend of hitting crypto-mining with malware. Basically, what this means is the cybercriminal will enter an innocent party’s PC or mobile device, and use it to mine cryptocurrency without the owner knowing anything about it.
“WannaCry” Type Attacks A Thing Of The Past?
The report stated that “cryptojacking” as this type of attack has been dubbed has become a more profitable option for hackers, and is a big reason why ransomware attacks have declined of late. The report drew attention to the notorious “WannaCry” incident in 2017 as an example of high-profile ransomware. Over four days last May, WannaCry caused widespread panic after infiltrating several major organizations such as the UK’s National Health Service, encrypting some 70,000 computer-listed files and demanded a ransom to be paid in Bitcoin to unlock them.
However, Kaspersky Lab now believe that the WannaCry attack was more an “isolated surge than a trend,” and says that incidents involving ransomware have fallen by more than 25% in the past twelve months. As the report says:
“The total number of users who encountered ransomware fell by almost 30%, from 2,581,026 in 2016-2017 to 1,811,937 in 2017-2018.”
Cryptojacking Up By 44%
While ransomware attacks are on the decrease, the report clearly indicates that the number of individuals who have encountered malicious miners has increased by 44.5% in the past 12 months. The key factor is that this is a far cheaper and more economical crime to pull off than the far more complex ransomware type attack. Crypto mining is a simple monetizing model, its discrete and miners are easy to create. All these factors have combined to make cryptojacking a far more lucrative option than the more complex and expensive ransomware.
While mobile based attacks are on the increase along with attacks on PCs, Kaspersky Lab’s report believes that big business could be the next target.
“The number of targeted attacks on businesses, for the purpose of installing miners, raises questions about whether mining might eventually follow in the footsteps of ransomware actors. Big money loves silence, and if miner actors attract as much attention to themselves as ransomware did, life will get complicated for them.”