With the rise of the blockchain technology, we have seen the birth of a new type of cybercrime – crypto-jacking. In Sweden, this new scheme is currently enjoying a worrying growth as more and more electronic devices are getting attacked by hackers, reported TheLocal.se.
According to cybersecurity firm Symantec, the number of cyber security threats, as well as the number of methods to access data illegally, exploit computer power and extort money is steadily increasing.
However, the pace at which this new type of cybercrime is growing is phenomenal. Fueled by the massive growth of cryptocurrencies since mid-2017, the number of crypto-jacking cases went up by 10,000 percent in the last quarter 2017 – twice the global growth rate for the same period, according to Symantec numbers.
What is crypto-jacking?
Crypto-jacking is basically the process of using the computation power of a person’s device to mine cryptocurrencies without their consent. This is mainly done to mine coins like Monero and Bytecoin, which are more CPU-friendly than major coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
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“The explosive growth in coin mining was one of the biggest trends on the cyber security threat landscape in 2017,” Symantec said.
A file or script, known as ‘coinminer’, is used by hackers to mine cryptocurrencies with the victims’ devices. This type of crime is as lucrative as it is hard to detect, as the victim is not enduring any immediate loss and in most cases won’t even notice that their computer is being used, other than it feeling slower than usual.
Hackers are even switching from ransom-based malwares like Ransomware to crypto-jacking due to the latter’s high risk-reward ratio.
Cyber-criminals are even targeting large enterprise rigs to mine cryptocurrencies, as was the case with the hijacking of Tesla’s cloud environment. Other companies like Aviva and Gemalta have also become victims of such crimes last year.
“Cybercriminals will continue to try and harness more and more of our resources for mining. So while a great portion of these threats are browser-based, hijacking PCs, Macs and smartphones, attackers are moving to obtain more processing power to drive greater profit,” Symantec’s director of Security Response Kevin Haley told The Verge.