Research Shows Cryptocurrency Mining Malware Has Reached 5% of all Monero Available
Monero (XMR) seems to be the favorite token used by criminals that deploy mining malware into thousands of computers. According to researchers from the Universidad Carlos III and King’s College London, 4.32 percent of all the Monero in circulation have been mined by hackers. The researchers are Sergio Pastrana and Guillermo Suarez-Tangil.
According to them, there are around 2,218 active campaigns that accumulated 720,000 XMR ($35 million). In just a single campaign, stealers were able to mine more than 163,000 XMR, equal to $7.92 million. Indeed, at the time of publishing the research, that campaign was still active.
The researchers informed that around 4.4 million malware samples were analyzed over a 12-year period from 2007 to 2018. To spread this malware, attackers use legitimate infrastructure including Dropbox or Github.
Monero is the favorite digital asset for illicit mining. This happens in that way because of Monero’s consensus algorithm that is optimized for GPU and CPU mining. It is very easy to install malicious mining hardware in users’ computers and start mining Monero. Indeed, some popular websites such as YouTube were infected with CoinHive Injections that used visitors’ CPU power to mine XMR.
The researchers informed that a 56 percent of the malware-associated wallets that they were able to identify were more represented than Bitcoin. Zcash (ZEC) wallets were located in the third place followed by Ethereum (ETH).
During the last year, crypto mining malware grew more than 4,000 percent, according to a recent report released by McAfee. At the same time, mining malware is also evolving in order not to be detected and be more efficient.
Monero is currently the 14th largest digital asset in the market. It has a market realization of $784 million and each coin can be purchased for $47.