than five million people in the first three quarters of the year
WOBURN, Mass. (BUSINESS WIRE)
Kasperskyhas released a new report
on the global outbreak in malicious cryptocurrency mining that unfolded
in 2018, which saw the number of crypto-mining attacks increase by more
than 83 percent over the previous year. More than five million people
were attacked with cryptocurrency mining malware in the first three
quarters of 2018, compared to 2.7 million people over the same period in
2017. The installation and use of unlicensed software and content was
the major driver behind this year’s crypto gold rush.
In 2018, malicious cryptocurrency miners prevailed
over the main threat of the last few years: ransomware. The number of
internet users attacked by malicious cryptocurrency mining software
increased steadily during the first half of the year, peaking in March,
when around 1.2 million users faced an attack.
Kaspersky Lab researchers investigated the economics behind the sudden
onset of crypto-mining fever to discover what drove the global
distribution of this threat. They analyzed the regulatory landscape;
electricity prices in countries most commonly targeted by crypto-miners;
and the main infection vectors for popular malware families.
The analysis revealed that neither cryptocurrency legislation nor the
cost of power has a significant impact on the spread of malicious
crypto-miners. However, the investigation of different malware families’
propagation found that miners mainly infected devices by duping users
into installing pirated software and unlicensed content.
“Our analysis of the economic background of malicious crypto-mining and
the reasons for its widespread presence in certain regions revealed a
clear correlation,” said Evgeny Lopatin, security expert at Kaspersky
Lab. “The easier it is to distribute unlicensed software, the more
incidents of malicious crypto-miner activities were detected. In short,
an activity not generally perceived as especially dangerous, the
downloading and installation of dubious software, underpins what is
arguably the biggest cyberthreat story of the year malicious
Other key findings from the report include:The total number of users who encountered crypto-miners rose by more
than 83% year over year, from 2,726,491 in 2017 to 5,001,414 in 2018; The share of miners detected out of the overall number of threats
detected also grew, from 5% in 2017 to 8% in 2018; The share of miners detected, from the overall risk tool detections is
also on the rise, up from 9% in 2017 to 17% in 2018; The total number of users who encountered mobile miners grew,
increasing by over five times from 1,986 users in 2017 to 10,242 in
To reduce the risk of becoming infected with a crypto-miner, Kaspersky
Lab advises the following tips for consumers and businesses:Always install software updates when prompted across all the devices
you use. To simplify and automate this process, use tools that can
automatically detect vulnerabilities, and download and install patches. For personal devices, use a reliable consumer security solution that
can detect suspicious activity taking place on your machine, such as
Kaspersky Lab’s System Watcher technology. Businesses should be sure not to overlook the need for security on
less obvious targets, such as POS terminals, queue management systems,
and even vending machines. As demonstrated by the miner that relied on
the EternalBlue exploit, such equipment can also be hijacked to mine
cryptocurrency. Use application control to track malicious activity in legitimate
applications. Specialized devices should be in Default Deny mode. Use
a dedicated security solution, such as
Endpoint Security for Business, that includes these functions. To protect the corporate environment, educate your employees and IT
teams about crypto-mining threats, keep sensitive data separate, and
The full text of the “ Story of the Year 2018: Cryptocurrency Miners”
is available on our blog .
Read what Kaspersky Lab experts predict for the future of cryptocurrency
in 2019 here .
To learn more about ransomware, the “ Story of the Year 2017,”
visit Securelist .
This report forms part of the annual Kaspersky Security Bulletin. Other
sections of the bulletin, including “ Threat Predictions for 2019 ,”
are also available on our blog .
The annual Review and Statistics will become available in December.
About Kaspersky Lab
Kaspersky Lab is a global cybersecurity
company which has been operating in the market for over 20 years.
Kaspersky Lab’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is
constantly transforming into next generation security solutions and
services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and
consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security
portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of
specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and
evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by
Kaspersky Lab technologies and we help 270,000 corporate clients protect
what matters most to them. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com .
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