Cryptojacking malware soars nearly 4x in Q3 2022

Edward G. | November 22, 2022

After recent turbulence in the crypto market, Atlas VPN decided to analyze the cybersecurity side of the crypto landscape and found that new modifications of cryptojacking software used in the act of hijacking a computer and using it to mine digital assets against the user's will, grew 3.8 times in Q3 2022. 

As many as 153 thousand new variants of malicious mining software were detected by Kaspersky in the third quarter of the year. In Q2, the number of new cryptojacking variants stood at around 41 thousand. 

However, data also reveals that the number of cryptojacking victims did not change significantly. In fact, it decreased slightly.

Analysts believe that fraudsters were trying to capitalize on the predicted growth in the crypto market. However, the predictions fell short, the market did not expand to new heights, and their strategy did not come to fruition. 

Nevertheless, cryptojacking is still one of the most common online threats. The number of victims each quarter range from 300 to 500 thousand.

Cryptojacking 101

Cryptojacking is a rather new threat, which emerged rapidly due to the impressive financial rewards of cryptocurrency mining. 

Crypto-mining software hides on a computer or mobile device and exploits the machine's capabilities to "mine" different types of digital money known. 

The objective is profit, like with most harmful software, but unlike other dangers, it is meant to remain fully concealed from the user for as long as possible. 

Unfortunately, cryptojacking is very difficult to detect. However, symptoms such as decreased device performance, overheating, and excessive CPU consumption are some of the warning signs. 

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Crypto-mining malware delivery

Even though these types of threats are difficult to detect, they are not that special in terms of delivery.

There are several techniques for disseminating miners, most of which are comparable to methods for spreading any other sort of malware.

One of the most common means of miner delivery is through malicious files posing as pirated entertainment. 

Cybercriminals deliberately entice their victims by presenting them with popular films, music, games, and software in order to distribute dangerous mining programs. They can distribute them via torrent links as well as specifically designed landing pages.

While the approach mentioned above mostly impacts consumer devices, there are a variety of distribution strategies for sending miners to more powerful enterprise equipment. 

They include attacking the victim's server using leaked or brute-forced passwords, spreading worms via flash drives or network storage, and distributing miners via unpatched vulnerabilities in the operating system.

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Edward G.

Edward G.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. My mission is to scan the ever-evolving cybercrime landscape to inform the public about the latest threats.

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