Cybercrime Report: Cryptojacking is on the rise at the decline of ransomware

The global security company Kaspersky Lab has recently released a report which looks at how – and why – ransomware attacks have become less common in cybercriminal hacks.

According to the cybersecurity company, “cryptojacking” –  a form of cryptocurrency hacking which sees the attack of mining malware – has become more frequent and is a more attractive means for hackers to illicitly gain cryptocurrency funds.

The report states that the “ total number of users who encountered ransomware fell by almost 30%, from 2,581,026 in 2016-2017 to 1,811,937 in 2017-2018,” and added that the ransomware attacks on mobile devices has also seen a major decline of about 22.5%. Furthermore, the number of individuals and entities who have fallen victim to the malicious miners has swelled by nearly 45% in the last year.

The report has suggested that the increase of cryptojacking is owing to several factors, such as the basic model of mining – which offers a great deal of profit to successful miners – as well as the discrete and pseudonymous nature of mining software. Components related to the mining model, such as how easy it is to develop mining devices have also given cryptojackers a major reason to perform attacks which make lining their pockets an easier endeavour as opposed to ransomware attacks:

“The number of targeted attacks on businesses, for the purpose of installing miners, raises questions about whether mining might eventually follow in the footsteps of ransomware actors. Big money loves silence, and if miner actors attract as much attention to themselves as ransomware did, life will get complicated for them.”

It was found that Venezuela, Myanmar, and Nepal are countries who have seen the most impact by mobile-based cryptojacking attacks, despite the fact that countries such as India and China can be attributed to an entire one-third of the volume the market’s smartphone devices.

Kaspersky Lab’s report has been supported by a similar research by American-based cybersecurity corporation McAfee, who also suggested that “the rise in the value of cryptocurrencies, market forces are driving criminals to crypto jacking and the theft of cryptocurrency.”

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