Browser-based cryptojacking is back with 163% increase in attacks


According to new research published by cybersecurity firm Symantec, the rise in cryptocurrency prices since March has been accompanied by a wave of cryptojacking attacks.

According to the company there was a 163% increase in browser-based cryptojacking activity in the second quarter of 2020. Cryptojacking had previously been in sharp decline since March 2019 due to the shutdown of the mining script maker, CoinHive.

Symantec points out that the rise in the last quarter coincided with an increase in the value of Bitcoin (BTC) and Monero (XMR), two cryptocurrencies often mined by threat actors who rely on browser-based cryptojacking malware.

Cryptojacking saw a period of high activity from September 2017 to March 2019, becoming one of the most prevalent forms of cyber attacks at the time. But in 2019, the CoinHive project would become economically enviable. According to the announcement, the mining service stopped its operations on March 8, 2019. Among the reasons behind the closure, the developers noted a 50% drop in the hash rate after Monero’s latest hard fork.

During an interview with Cointelegraph on August 1, Josh Lemos, VP of Research and Intelligence at BlackBerry, said that crypto miners don’t have to be sophisticated and can be delivered in a variety of ways:

“From JavaScript running on a website as a top-up attack or embedded in a spear phishing email to supply chain attacks with miners embedded in docker hub images and malicious browser extensions.”

However, in a recent report, ZDNet suggested that the current increase in attacks is unlikely to be sustained.

“Most of the cybercriminal groups that have experienced cryptojacking operations in the past usually abandon it weeks later, as they also found browser-based cryptocurrency mining was both a waste of time and too noisy, drawing more attention to the respective operations than to profits. “

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