Economy

Cybercriminals go after cryptocurrency: Report

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on June 05, 2021

The number of users that have encountered malicious programs has increased

Cybercriminals are going after cryptocurrency, with an increase in the number of new modifications of miners in Q1 2021, according to a report by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.

“Miners are malicious programs designed to steal cryptocurrency from infected devices. They’re often installed without users’ knowledge and then begin slowly siphoning off various types of crypto coins; in some cases, the miners walk away with millions,” explained Kaspersky in an official release.

“While miners became a popular tool in cybercriminals’ arsenals beginning in 2018, their popularity had steadily declined over the course of 2020,” it added.

However, there was a change in Q1 2021 as the number of new modifications in miners increased. According to Kaspersky’s Malware Q1 2021 report, from February to March 2021, the number of unique modifications of miners more than quadrupled from 3,815 to 16,934. In total, Kaspersky researchers discovered 23,894 new modifications of miners in Q1 2021.

The number of Kaspersky users that encountered miners on their devices also increased. 187,746 users detected miners on their devices in January. While 200,045 users detected the same in March 2021. In total, 432,171 unique users encountered miners in Q1 2021.

“It’s too early to say for sure if the trend we’ve noted in Q1 2021 is here to stay. However, it does seem that the increase in the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency has sparked a renewed interest in miners. If the crypto markets remain strong this year, it’s like we’ll continue to see more instances of users encountering miners,” said Evgeny Lopatin, a security expert at Kaspersky.

Other notable trends from the report include a decrease in the number of users encountering both mobile and PC banking Trojans and an increase in the number of modifications of ransomware Trojans—from 3,096 in Q4 2020 to 4,354 in Q1 2021.

Published on June 05, 2021

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