Move over, ransomware: Cryptominer malware now ‘No. 1 threat’

The dominant discussion in the InfoSec community has centered on ransomware for quite some time. With billions of dollars in damage done, it only makes sense that this has been the case. We have also wondered, however, when the trend of ransomware would be overtaken by another attack method. As businesses and individuals have gotten wiser to ransomware, cryptominers started to rise in attack frequency. It appears, based on research from various cybersecurity firms, that cryptominer malware is now the No. 1 threat from cybercriminals.

According to the 2018 Mid-Year Report from Check Point Labs, cryptominer attacks have proven to be more effective and more lucrative in the present time when compared to ransomware attacks. For this reason, the total attacks from ransomware in 2018 have been eclipsed by cryptominer malware. There are numerous reasons for this, as Check Point states in the report:

One of the biggest ongoing trends is Cryptominers and crypto-related threats as a whole. Indeed, cryptominers have taken the world by storm, becoming the leading attack vector used by threat actors this year, overtaking even ransomware. So far, Cryptominers have greatly improved their capabilities as well as upgraded their targets array: servers, mobile devices, industrial systems and cloud infrastructure — no one is left behind.

The specific data on these attacks are a cause for alarm as it really puts into perspective how far cryptominer malware has jumped in usage. Check Point states that, during the first half of 2018, roughly 42 percent of organizations globally suffered from cryptominer malware attacks. This is a significant jump from the 20.5 percent that the entire year of 2017 saw and this number will only continue to grow. With such a broad range of attack points and how lucrative the attacks have proven in 2018, netting $2.5 billion in just six months for attackers, cybersecurity divisions really need to be on their guard in the months (or years) to come.

Featured image: Flickr / Crypto360

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