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Kaspersky Lab Finds 2018’s Malicious Crypto-Mining Fever Powered by Pirated Sof ...

Cryptocurrency mining malware wreaks havoc in 2018, infecting more
than five million people in the first three quarters of the year
Kaspersky Lab Finds 2018’s Malicious Crypto-Mining Fever Powered by Pirated Sof ...
Kaspersky Lab Finds 2018’s Malicious Crypto-Mining Fever Powered by Pirated Sof ...


has 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
restrict access.

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 .


Meghan Rimol


Kaspersky Lab Finds 2018’s Malicious Crypto-Mining Fever Powered by Pirated Sof ...
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