Mining malware is more popular than ever before. In the second quarter of 2018 the amount of ‘cryptojacking’ surged with 86%. This comes from a new report by cyber security company McAfee Labs. The primary target for these hackers are still personal computers, but these ‘cryptojackers’ more often turn their attention to mobile devices and other things connected to the internet.
A cryptojacker uses a vulnerability in the security of a device to install malware. In this case the malicious software is a miner. It uses processing power of the device to mine cryptocurrencies. Especially Monero (XMR) is often associated with these mining practices. Last year many website were mining XMR in the background, using processing power of people visiting their website. We call this cryptojacking.
A couple of years ago many home devices and smartphones were too weak to be even considered for crypto currency mining. But their increasing processing power, tremendous volume and often weak security make these devices ‘a very attractive platform’ to plant malware.
With the rise of cryptojacking, another form of digital terrorism declined. Ransomware attacks, where hackers lock a computer until the victim has paid a certain amount of bitcoin, declined with 30% in the last year.