'Crypto jacking' cyber attacks up by 8,500%, says Symantec

The popularity of cryptocurrencies sees the rise of coin mining malware

Hacking computers to surreptitiously siphon off processing power to mine for cryptocurrencies is on the rise according to Symantec.

The cyber security company found a 8,500% surge in so-called 'crypto jacking' cyber attacks in the final quarter of 2017, according to a new report.

Out of all the hack attacks the company blocked last December alone, 24% were aimed at hijacking CPU power to mine the digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Monero.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The growing interest in cryptocurrencies and their acquisition can be attributed to the rapid rise of crypto jacking, which affects both mobile and desktop systems. Part of this rise has been attributed to the increased availability of easy-to-use crypto mining tools that can be slotted into malware and used by cyber criminals to generate an illicit income.

"The barrier to entry for coin mining is pretty low potentially only requiring a couple of lines of code to operate and coin mining can allow criminals to fly under the radar in a way that is not possible with other types of cyber crime," Symantec's security response team said.

"Victims may not even realise a coin miner is slurping their computer's power as the only impact may be a slowdown of their device that they could easily attribute to something else."

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

While stealing computing power may not seem as big a threat as pilfering private data or spreading spyware throughout a network, it can still cause problems for both individual and corporate victims.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"Coin mining on a device could potentially cause batteries to overheat and devices to become unusable," noted Symantec's research.

"Coin mining also has implications for organisations. Self-propagating coin miners may require corporate networks to be shut down. Coin mining in the cloud also has financial implications for organisations that are being billed based on CPU usage."

Given the current furore surrounding cryptocurrencies, it's unlikely that crypto jacking will slope of anytime soon, unless the value of the digital money takes a significant downward spiral.

Image: Shutterstock

Featured Resources

Preparing for long-term remote working after COVID-19

Learn how to safely and securely enable your remote workforce

Download now

Cloud vs on-premise storage: What’s right for you?

Key considerations driving document storage decisions for businesses

Download now

Staying ahead of the game in the world of data

Create successful marketing campaigns by understanding your customers better

Download now

Transforming productivity

Solutions that facilitate work at full speed

Download now
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/laptops/29190/how-to-find-ram-speed-size-and-type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

24 Jun 2020
Visit/mobile/google-android/356373/over-2-dozen-additional-android-apps-found-stealing-user-data
Google Android

Over two dozen Android apps found stealing user data

7 Jul 2020
Visit/cloud/356260/the-road-to-recovery
Sponsored

The road to recovery

30 Jun 2020