Rapid Surge In The Crypto-Mining Malware in 2018, Says A McAfee Report

Dec 20, 2018 at 13:00 Update Date :Dec 20, 2018 at 13:00 UTC

According to a recent research conducted by McAfee, the number of cryptocurrency mining malwares have increased by over 4,000% in the year 2018.

In its December 2018 report, the United States based cybersecurity giant McAfee said that there were around four million new mining malware threats in the third quarter of 2018 alone while in 2017 and 2016 it was less than 500,000.

In a statement, the cybersecurity firm said that:

“Mining cryptocurrency via malware is one of the big stories of 2018. Total ‘coin miner’ malware has grown more than 4,000 percent in the past year.”

According to McAfee, before 2017 these kinds of viruses were virtually non-existent. As at the end of 2017, crypto mining became more prevalent, the spread of crypto mining malware rose at a rapid pace to access the other people’s systems without their permission. According to the report, the number of malicious crypto mining malware grew nearly 55% in the third quarter of 2018  with total malware growing 4,467% in the last four quarters. The report states that:

“Security researcher Remco Verhoef discovered a Mac OS threat later named OSX. Dummy, which was distributed on crypto mining chat groups. The exploitation is simple, requiring victims to execute a one-line command in the OSX terminal to download and execute the payload.”

Which means the malware does not only affects Windows-based computers but also Mac OS. From some of the past quarters, McAfee noticed a decline in new ransomware families which suggests that the bad actors are switching to more lucrative places. The report states that:

“Many ransomware actors [are] switching to a more lucrative business model: crypto mining.”

This time the hackers are not only targeting traditional computers but they are also targeting IP cameras and even routers. The report further added:

“We would not usually think of using routers or IoT devices such as IP cameras or video recorders as crypto miners because their CPUs are not as powerful as those in desktop and laptop computers. However, due to the lack of proper security controls, cybercriminals can benefit from volume over CPU speed. If they can control thousands of devices that mine for a long time, they can still make money.”

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