Cryp­tocur­rency min­ing surge con­tin­ues in sec­ond quar­ter of 2018: Mcafee re­port shows


Mcafee Labs Threats Re­port for in Q2 2018 re­ported a surge in cryp­to­min­ing mal­ware growth that be­gan in Q4 2017 con­tinue through the first half of 2018. Mcafee also saw the con­tin­ued adap­ta­tion of the type of mal­ware vulnerability ex­ploits used in the Wan­nacry and NotPetya out­breaks of 2017.

Al­though less com­mon than ran­somware, cryp­to­min­ing mal­ware has quickly emerged as a fac­tor on the threat land­scape. Af­ter grow­ing around 400,000 in the fourth quar­ter of 2017, new cryp­to­min­ing mal­ware sam­ples grew a stun­ning 629% to more than 2.9 mil­lion sam­ples in Q1 2018. This trend con­tin­ued in Q2 as to­tal sam­ples grew by 86% with more than 2.5 mil­lion new sam­ples. Mcafee Labs has even iden­ti­fied what ap­pear to be older mal­ware such as ran­somware newly re­tooled with min­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

In some cases, cryp­to­min­ing tar­gets spe­cific groups rather than a broad field of po­ten­tial vic­tims. One cryp­to­min­ing mal­ware strain has tar­geted gamers on a Rus­sian fo­rum by pos­ing as a “mod” claim­ing to en­hance pop­u­lar games. Gamers were tricked into down­load­ing the ma­li­cious soft­ware, which pro­ceeded to use their com­puter re­sources for profit.

While cryp­to­min­ing mal­ware pri­mar­ily tar­gets PCS, other de­vices have be­come vic­tims. For in­stance, An­droid phones in China and South Korea have been ex­ploited by the Adb. miner mal­ware into pro­duc­ing Monero cryp­tocur­rency for its cryp­to­min­ing per­pe­tra­tors.


A year af­ter the out­breaks of the Wan­nacry and Notpetya at­tacks, new mal­ware sam­ples specif­i­cally de­signed to ex­ploit soft­ware vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties in­creased by 151% in Q2. Mcafee saw the ex­ploits from these two high-pro­file threats re­pur­posed within new mal­ware strains, and newly dis­cov­ered vulnerability ex­ploits sim­i­larly adapted to pro­duce en­tirely new threats.

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