Moscow-based cyber security company Kaspersky Labs has released a security bulletin indicating the exponentially rising number of cryptojacking incidents executed through malware infection.
As analysts from Kaspersky Labs reported on Wednesday, there has been a drastic spike in cryptojacking attacks during the first three months of 2018. The malevolent software was specifically designed to leech off the infected machine’s processing power to illicitly mine digital currencies, with the generated proceeds collected by the cyber hacker.
Furthermore, the cybersecurity firm noted that the number of users that have been targeted by such attack has significantly increased in September compared to recorded incidents in January and “the threat is still current,” though it remains uncertain whether the crypto markets’ recent plunge would have any correlation with the infection rate.
According to the firm, “the ‘reprofiling’ of botnets from DDoS attacks to cryptocurrency mining” may have largely contributed to the marked decline in DDoS attacks, noting that:
“Evidence suggests that the owners of many well-known botnets have switched their attack vector toward mining. For example, the DDoS activity of the Yoyo botnet dropped dramatically, although there is no data about it being dismantled.”
One major factor that may have also lead to the surge of clandestine crypto mining is the difficulty to detect such attacks once the malicious code has proliferated.
According to several Kaspersky analysts, attackers commonly deploy a type of software capable of reconfiguring a computer’s processor in order to apportion a small amount of power for crypto mining without being detected by users.
The cybersecurity firm also explored other factors that might have played a role in the malware’s prevalence across other territories. As analysts suggested, jurisdictions with laxer legislative framework governing piracy and illegal distribution of such software are more vulnerable to such cryptojacking attacks.
As it stands, the U.S. only comprised 1.33 percent of the total number of recorded cryptojacking incidents, followed by Switzerland and Britain. However, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, and Indonesia, as well as other regions with more lenient laws on piracy topped the list.
As the report further explained:
“The more freely unlicensed software is distributed, the more miners there are. This is confirmed by our statistics, which indicates that miners most often land on victim computers together with pirated software.”