Move Over RansomWare – The Biggest International Cyber Threat Is Rapidly Becoming Illegal Cryptocurrency Mining Is Fast Taking Over The Number One Spot
With the increasing growth of literacy in using computers, this means that over a billion people every year are learning to get online. But with that comes an increasing number of people online that may find themselves susceptible to some kind of cyber-based attack.
But above all of these types of attacks that can happen, we are seeing a figurative changing of the guard happening. According to the research organization and cybersecurity provider, Kaspersky Lab, the illegal hijacking of computers in order to put them to use for mining cryptocurrencies.
As a system of hardware hijacking, this type of cybercrime has rapidly overtaken the previously infamous method of importing ransomware, as we have seen in the prior years of 2017 & 16. This method has exponentially grown, with reports coming out of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Kaspersky concludes.
The company, which specializes in the provision of cybersecurity solutions for computer users and companies has shown that these mining attacks on users of any scale has risen almost fourfold within this area of the world. To place this in a more statistical format, this is over 10 million more attacks which are taking place over the course of 2018 (13 million) as opposed to just over 3.5m over 2017.
One of the major contributors to this exceptional rise in cyber attacks is, in Kaspersky's findings, due to the accelerating use of digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, which are commonly used in cyber-crimes and Intial Coin Offerings.
Conductors of these digital attacks often acquire malware on the darkweb, sending or planting it in the code of a website commonly frequented by their unsuspecting users. This allows them to hijack the hardware, and use a percentage of its power to mine cryptocurrencies. Commonly, this processing power is used in order to mine Monero, which emphasizes the anonymity of the user.
“The region encompassing the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) are coming to be increasingly appealing for Cyber-crime, with cryptocurrency relating mining attacks taking the focus,” according to the senior researcher in cybersecurity for Kaspersky Labs. These crimes are overtaking other methods of cyber attacks, simply because “mining is silent, it provides less of an impact on the user than ransomware, making it harder to notice.”
While this is revealing news coming from the anti-virus provider, Kaspersky Labs does have its fair share of skeletons in the metaphorical cupboard. Just recently, or last year, the United States Department of Homeland Security announced a wide-scale ban on the use of its anti-virus software amongst the various federal agencies. This was due to a series of concerns expressed over Kaspersky's links to the government of the Russian Federation.
Since then, the company has been attempting in vain to have this ban lifted. The latest attempt being last month which failed to convince the court responsible with its appeal. Meaning that the provider is still under a federal ban.
Whether or not the company decides to continue to appeal against this ban, a spokeswoman speaking on behalf of Kaspersky made it clear that the company is dedicated to providing a continued service to existing and potential customers alike that live within the United States, and around the world.
While ensconced in its own legal battle, the company has never been engaged in any kind of illicit activities, nor will it ever be involved in such activities in the future, she went one to add.