News & Politics

Cryptojacking Doubles in First Quarter of 2018

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Cryptocurrency is in the news these days everywhere you look, beginning with the most famous one, Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency is a way to make payments using currency that avoids bank and government oversight. It uses cryptographic software to conduct, record, and verify each transaction and it’s all done online, completely virtual.

But with this new invention comes the term “cryptojacking,” the secret use of a person’s computer to mine or steal cryptocurrency. Secret software is installed on a computer and is used to look for cybercurrencies. It’s a problem that’s growing with the number of organizations hit by cryptojacking malware more than doubling in this first quarter compared to the same period last year.

Cybersecurity solutions provider Fortinet has reported that cybercriminals are developing new and more sophisticated methods to attack computers.

Fortinet chief security officer Phil Quade said: “We face a troubling convergence of trends across the cybersecurity landscape. Malicious cyber actors are demonstrating their efficiency and agility by exploiting the expanding digital attack surface, taking advantage of newly announced zero-day threats, and maximizing the accessibility of malware for evil intent.”

Malwarebytes, an anti-malware software maker that finds and removes malware, has reported that cryptojacking threats have overtaken malware as the preferred method of cybercriminals.

Their report noted, “A huge spike in September and October 2017 resulted in more than 25 million detections of crypto mining malware on consumer machines. By March, the decline still left us with 16 million detections.”

Yet the biggest cause of cyber attacks is still human error, according to another company.  Proofpoint, a cybersecurity company, said: “Email remains the top attack vector. Threats range from spam that clogs inboxes and wastes resources to email fraud that can cost organizations and people millions of dollars… And mainstream interest in cryptocurrency is driving advances in malware and new approaches to phishing and cybercrime.”

It seems cybercriminals are finding the new cybercurrency services great pickings for new sources of theft.  Yet some of the cybercoin companies are themselves fraudulent.

In a just-published report, the Wall Street Journal found 271 of  1,450 digital coin offerings were highly suspect. The offerings used fake names and plagiarized investor documents. Several showed the same pictures of their founders with different names.

Cryptocurrency has become the new gold rush of the Internet, with investors looking to make a killing, but facing huge risks from both fraudulent companies and cryptojacking.