Illegal crypto mining is a bigger cyber threat than ransomware in certain parts of the world, Kaspersky Lab has noted.
The Middle East, Turkey, and Africa have recorded a quadruple more cryptomining attacks in 2018 compared to 2017. According to Kaspersky, the number has gone from 3.5 million to 13 million this year.
Kaspersky Lab is a cybersecurity and anti-virus provider headquartered in Russia.
“The META region is becoming more appealing to cybercriminals, with financial and malicious cyrpotomining attacks taking center stage. We discovered six new ATM malware families in 2018. On the other hand, illegal mining of cryptocurrencies has increased dramatically to overtake the main threat of the last few years: ransomware. We believe the reason behind this is that mining is silent and cause less impact that ransomware, making it less noticeable”, said Fabio Assolini, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab.
The rapid increase in malicious mining of cryptocurrencies is a result of the wider adoption of the crypto and blockchain technology. As the increase in the use of cryptocurrencies is expected to rise, Kaspersky expects the number of illegal mining to rise as well.
Cybercriminals are using malware to compromise other people’s computers and start background mining, without the computer’s owner being aware. Any digital currencies produced are then secured by cybercriminals.
Kaspersky was in the media spotlight last year when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) banned all use of its software by federal agencies, over concerns about the connection to the Russian government. Back then, Kaspersky released a statement saying that “DHS has failed to provide the company adequate due process to rebut the unsubstantiated allegations”.
The Moscow-based company has failed to overthrow the decision.