The illegal mining of cryptocurrencies has increased in the last year, partly due to a software tool leaked by the National Agency for National Security, the researchers said on Wednesday
A report from the Cyber Threat Alliance, an association of studies and IT security experts, found a 459% increase in the last year of illegal encryption, a technique used by hackers to steal the computer processing power to create cryptocurrency.
"The activity went from a virtually nonexistent problem to one that appears almost universally on top of our members' threat lists," said a Neil Jenkins blog post, chief analytic officer for the alliance.
One of the reasons for the strong growth was the loss last year from a group of hackers known as Shadow Brokers of "EternalBlue", software developed by the NSA to exploit the vulnerabilities of the Windows operating system.
"A patch for EternalBlue has been available for 18 months Even after being exploited in two major global cyber attacks – WannaCry and NotPetya – there are still countless organizations that have been victims of this exploit, as they are being used by mining malware", wrote Jenkins.
The increase in hacking coincides with the increasing use of virtual currencies such as bitcoin, ethereum or monero, which are not governed by any government and are created through the resolution of complex IT problems.
While some cryptocurrency mining is legitimate, hackers have discovered ways to tap into the processing power of unsuspecting computer users to illicitly generate currency.
Jenkins said that the increase in malware for encryption highlights broader cybersecurity threats.
"Illicit mining is the" canary in the coal mine "of cyber security threats." If cryptocurrency mining is occurring on your network, you will probably have worse problems and we should consider the future of mining. illicit as a strategic threat. "
Hackers can generate profits and use cryptocurrency for other malicious purposes such as buying other types of malware tools on the" dark web ", according to the report.
The researchers claimed that 85% of cyber threats of illegal cryptocurrency monene, with bitcoin accounting for eight percent
"Although the monero has a value significantly lower than bitcoin, several factors make this cryptocurrency of choice for the malicious actors", The report states
Monero, according to the report, offers more privacy and anonymity, "which help malicious actors hide their activities mining and their transactions using the currency, "the researchers said.
"Addresses and transaction values are blurred by default, making monitoring incredibly difficult for investigators."  © 2018 AFP