As many as 11% corporate users were affected by crypto miners in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META region). Among them 6% were from the UAE, a research paper from Kaspersky said.
Cybercriminals use the processing power of the victim’s computer to mine cryptocurrency, with an income reaching up to $40,500 (2 BTC) per month, the study said.
According to the research at Kaspersky, making money using crypto miners has been profitable for cybercriminals as they don’t pay for equipment or electricity, which is rather expensive in 2022.
“They install mining software on the victim’s computer to use its processing power without the user’s consent. It does not require much specialist technical expertise,” these researchers opined.
Andrey Invanov, a security expert with Kaspersky said: “Although these are not the best days for the cryptocurrency industry, the topic has been in the spotlight throughout the year, so it’s not surprising that malicious actors would want to profit from these trends.”
“The silver lining is that while the number of threats is rising, there are no dramatic changes in the number of users encountering miners. That is why it is imperative to raise awareness about the first signs that malware is being downloaded onto your computer. It is also necessary to install a reliable security solution that will prevent attacks at an early stage,” he added.
The attacker must know how to create a miner using open-source code or where to buy one. If the crypto mining malware is installed successfully on the victim’s computer, it provides its operator with steady earnings. This year saw a sharp increase in new modifications to malicious mining programs.
New Miners Doubled
The experts have identified 215,843 new miners during the first three quarters of 2022, more than twice as many as last year. Most of the analysed samples of malicious mining software (48%) secretly mine Monero (XMR) currency via the victim’s computer.
This currency is known for its advanced technologies that anonymise transaction data to achieve maximum privacy. Those monitoring it cannot decipher addresses trading Monero, transaction amounts, balances, or transaction histories – all these factors immensely appeal to cyber criminals.
Most frequently, attackers distribute miners through malicious files masquerading as pirated content – films, music, games and software. At the same time, unpatched vulnerabilities pose a severe challenge to users while being an appealing lure for cybercriminals who exploit them to spread to miners, the researchers added.