In the latest cryptocurrency news, the digital currency mining malware responsible for taking over ransomware and other types of malware some time last year became the top scourge of the internet. It definitely does not come as a surprise, especially since the crypto called Monero is still the coin of choice particularly for all digital asset criminals who want to pilfer resources from the unsuspecting masses.
‘4.3% of Monero With Illicit Mining’
As far as a new study from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and King’s College London is concerned, these cyber criminals are successful in using malware in order to mine at least 4.3% of the entire supply of XMR. “Our profit analysis reveals campaigns with multi-million earnings, associating over 4.3% of Monero with illicit mining,” the report suggests.
The study was conducted by two researchers who could not determine what proportion of this digital currency has already been cashed out. However, they were able to implement a figure on it which is no small sum.
They were quoted as saying:
“Although this depends on when criminals cash-out their earnings, we estimate that the total revenue accounts for nearly $57M USD. These measurements exceed (and complement) estimations from parallel work focused on browser-based cryptojacking,”
The two started by analyzing about 4.4 million malware samples, all of which were investigated over a 12 year period that started in 2007. From there, the pair identified over a million malware crypto miners. The paper also pinpointed a relatively low cost and high return as being the primary success of this illicit crypto mining. Plus, it was revealed that a lower threat surfaced against users but antivirus companies have paid little to zero attention.
Disseminating Malicious Software
Moreover, regular changes in the proof of work algorithms could possibly discourage criminals. Why exactly? This is made possible thanks the constant need to upgrade mining software. The study even explained about a common approach that could be utilized to disseminate the malicious software, and this can be done by using legitimate infrastructure. The latter could refer to the likes of Dropbox or Github. Interestingly, some prevalent methods can be done by using Rogue mining tools and online services.
Bitcoin came in as the second most popular cryptocurrency to mine illegitimately but its popularity has declined over the past three years. This spiralling down is possible due to a significant increase in hashrate and difficulty. In addition, mining the digital currency using home computers is no longer viable; hence, exploiters are switching to ASIC resistant coins (e.g. BCN, XMR, etc.).