Kaspersky Lab: Middle East, Turkey and Africa region records 4-fold increase in cryptomining attacks

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In 2018, Kaspersky Lab reported a 4-fold increase in cryptomining attacks in the Middle East region, Turkey and Africa (META) from 3.5 million in 2017 to 13 million this year, said the company on December 14th.

The increase in criptomining attacks in META occurs at a time when digital threats and cybercrime activities in the region are on the rise. Bank malware attacks have reached almost half a million or an increase of 17%, in 2018, according to Kaspersky Lab's KSN statistics.

"The META region is becoming more attractive to cybercriminals, with financial and malicious cryptomining attacks at the center of the scene," said Fabio Assolini, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

"We have discovered six new families of ATM malware in 2018. On the other hand, the illegal extraction of cryptocurrencies has increased dramatically to overcome the major threat of recent years: ransomware.We believe the reason for this is that Mining is silent and causes less impact than ransomware, making it less noticeable. "

2018 saw the global mining explosion of malignant cryptocurrencies, with a number of attacks increasing by over 83%, with over five million users attacked online in the first three quarters of 2018, compared to 2 , 7 million in the same period of 2017, according to Kaspersky Laboratory.

While the mischievous use of cryptocurrency miners has increased this year, ransomware attacks have diminished while attackers have changed their strategy, opting instead to perform discrete mining on infected devices rather than requesting a ransom and attracting 39; attention.

In a report published last month, Kaspersky Lab researchers have pointed out that the malicious use of cryptocurrency miners peaked in March with over 1,169,000 attacks, before decreasing steadily as the general interest in the cryptocurrencies diminished and prices fell.

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Cryptographic attacks in 2018, November 2018, Kaspersky Lab

The hidden mining software was very popular among botnet owners, research has found. Furthermore, it revealed that miners have mainly infected devices by inviting users to install pirated software and unauthorized content.

"Our analysis of the economic background of malignant criptomining and the reasons for its widespread presence in some regions revealed a clear correlation," said Evgeny Lopatin, security expert at Kaspersky Lab.

"The easier it is to distribute unlicensed software, the more episodes of malicious cryptominer activity have been detected, in short, an activity not generally perceived as particularly dangerous, the download and the installation of dubious software, it is at the base of what is probably the biggest cyberthreat story of the year: harmful cryptography ".

Cryptographic malware takes charge of a computer's resources and uses it for cryptocurrency mining without explicit permission from the user. Cryptographers usually find their way to users' computers and corporate computers along with adware, hacked games, and other pirated content.

Unlike ransomware programs, which you notice immediately, it may take a while before a victim of a cryptominer notices that 70-80% of the CPU or graphics card power is used to generate cryptocurrencies.

According to Kaspersky Lab's separate report, a single cryptocurrency mining botnet can eliminate cybercriminals over $ 30,000 a month.

The most common cryptocurrency among all the illegally extracted cryptocurrencies is Monero (XMR), mainly due to the anonymous algorithm, relatively high market value and ease of sale. Palo Alto Networks estimates that a total of US $ 175 million of Monero has been illegally extracted, representing about 5% of all the Moneros currently in circulation.

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