Cryptojacking attacks that install malware to secretly mine cryptocurrency on a victimâs device have considerably widespread over the past year. Malware detections increased by 500 percent in the first half of 2018. A survey in August 2018 reported that more than half of businesses in the UK alone had been affected by Cryptojacking at some point.
Special research findings from the cybersecurity company JASK revealed that an updated version of trojan Shellbot is highly prevalent since its debut in November 2018. Among many cryptocurrency mining malware, it continues to zero in major crypto companies, hijacking victims to mine altcoin Monero (XMR).
The latest threat specifically targets users operating devices running on Linux as hackers are targeting Linux web servers across the globe. The hackers according to the company is a Romanian group called Outlaw.
In January 2019, research from Palo Alto Networks found another Monero-mining malware targeting Linux users that had the ability to disable cloud-based security measures to avoid detection.
Cryptojacking is not a new phenomenon. The ability to use computer resources to mine bitcoin without the help of specialized hardware has been around since 2011. However, cybercriminals only began developing malware observing the boom in cryptocurrencies in the second half of 2017. Moreover, one does not have to be a highly skilled software engineer to get into the business of illicit mining. Cryptojacking as a service can be bought in the dark web for just half a US dollar. It is because of the higher level of confidentiality and ambiguity inherent in certain cryptocurrencies like Monero and Zcash makes it difficult to trace and catch the hackers.
Monero (XMR) has been the most popular cryptocurrency targeted by botnets. Blockmanity recently reported about a study that showed only 4.3% of Monero (XMR) being mined by botnets.
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