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Cryptojacking Replaces Ransomware As Top Cyber Bad Dog In 2018

cryptojacking july2

A new study by a leading international cyber security firm says it has noticed a whopping increase in cryptojacking and other cryptocurrency mining schemes this year, that has replaced ransomware as top cyber bad dog in 2018.

Cybercriminals hijack victims' browsers or infect their systems to secretly use them to mine for legitimate cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

This category of cryptocurrency mining malware, called "coin miner," grew by 629 percent to more than 2.9 million known samples in Q1 2018, rocketing from about 400,000 samples in Q4 2017, according to "McAfee Labs Threats Report: June 2018."

This suggests that cybercriminals are continuing to take advantage of the prospect of simply infecting users' systems and collecting payments without having to rely on third parties to raise funds to carry out their crimes.

The Santa Clara, California-based device-to-cloud cybersecurity company examined the growth and trends of new malware, ransomware, and other threats in the first quarter of 2018.

McAfee also reports about a highly sophisticated Bitcoin-stealing phishing campaign — HaoBao — launched by the Lazarus cybercrime ring, which targeted global financial organizations and Bitcoin users. When recipients open malicious email attachments, an implant would scan for Bitcoin activity and establishes an implant for persistent data gathering and crypto mining.

The study found that the growth in new ransomware slowed by 32 percent in the first quarter of this year. The Gandcrab strain was the most destructive ransomware, which infected around 50,000 systems in the first three weeks of the quarter. Gandcrab uses new criminal methodologies, such as transacting ransom payments through the Dash cryptocurrency rather than through Bitcoin.

McAfee Labs recorded, on average, five new malware samples per second, including threats showing notable technical developments improving upon the latest successful technologies and tactics to outmaneuver their targets' defenses.

"There were new revelations this quarter concerning complex nation-state cyber-attack campaigns targeting users and enterprise systems worldwide," said Raj Samani, chief scientist at McAfee.

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