Cryptojacking malware attacks surge by 29% in Q1 2019: report

Cryptojacking campaigns shot up by 29% in the first quarter of this year, a new report has revealed. The August Threat Report by McAfee Labs revealed that the new malware attacked both Windows and Apple users, mining cryptocurrencies and stealing user data.

Ransomware attacks grew by 118% in Q1, the report indicated. New ransomware was detected in the quarter, with the threat actors using advanced and innovative techniques to target their victims. Dubbing Q1 as the quarter of data dumps, McAfee Labs revealed that a hacker using the moniker Gnosticplayers released stolen information from many large companies pertaining to nearly 1 billion accounts.

Cryptojacking malware was still prevalent in the quarter, with Monero-mining PsMiner malware being one of the standouts. The malware used brute force technique to infiltrate servers running Hadoop, ElasticSearch, Spring and ThinkPHP and then spread to the other servers.

Apple users were also not spared by the new malware, with one in particular, CookieMiner, proving to be a big menace. This malware was observed to steal data from some of the most popular services such as Binance, Bittrex, Bitstamp, Poloniex, MyEtherWallet and Coinbase. While it stole credentials so that the hackers could steal the cryptos owned by their victims, it also mined Koto, one of the lesser known darkcoins.

The hackers relied on patched flaws related to defects in Windows, Microsoft Office, Apple iOS and Think PHP.

McAfee’s chief scientist Raj Samani commented, “The impact of these threats is very real. It’s important to recognize that the numbers, highlighting increases or decreases of certain types of attacks, only tell a fraction of the story. Every infection is another business dealing with outages, or a consumer facing major fraud. We must not forget for every cyberattack, there is a human cost.”

The report also revealed that the company saw an average of 504 new threats per minute in Q1. Moreover, over 2.2 billion account credentials were published on the dark web over the quarter. 77% of the attacks relied on user actions such as clicking on a link to execute their campaigns.

As CoinGeek reported recently, French authorities recently shut down a cryptojacking botnet that had infected over 850,000 machines worldwide. The botnet had victims in over 140 countries, with a majority of the victims being from Latin America.

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