Cryptominers on the rise

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Ransomware was the biggest malware type of 2017, are cryptominers going to steal the crown?

It’s been suggested that the use of malicious cryptominers has risen by almost a third in the first half of 2018.

Malicious cryptominers “steal” the processing power of devices they are installed upon in order to generate cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin or Ethereum, for the malware author.

Mark James, ESET IT Security Specialist, comments on the rise in cryptominers and suggests why it might be happening.

“As we know the malware industry is all about making money these days and there are many ways to do it.

“From physically infecting an ATM and waiting for the money to dispense; through to ransomware extorting your hard-earned cash.

“Most methods are fairly swift in operation: once infected the rewards are reaped, but often the malware is identified and this forms the basis of defending against it.

“Cyrptomining is different. Ideally, it wants to sit in the background not making any real waves, quietly making the author(s) a digital nest egg.

“It does not want to hold you to ransom; it does not want you to alert you to its presence in any way whatsoever: the longer it can mine in the background the money it will make. The business model here is to make long-term gains not short sharp windfalls.

“Unfortunately cryptominers don’t attract the worry and concern that traditional malware does: being infected or held to ransom has something tangible that’s able to be understood.

“Whereas utilising your computer power or processer to “mine” for a digital currency does not hold the same concerns and thus does not always appear at the top of the radar. Ironically, this point is also fuelling the shift over to this type of infection.”

Do you think you would notice a cryptominer stealing a small amount of your processing power? Let us know on Twitter @ESETUK.

With ESET Multi-Device Security you can protect your Windows PC, Mac and Android devices from ransomware to cryptominers and everything in between.