Cryptographic malware detection increased by 459% over the past year, according to a new report released today by the Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA), which cites statistics gathered from many of its member companies.
Entitled "The illegal Cryptocurrency Cyber Threat", the report warns that this dramatic increase year on year is not a stroke of luck, noting that illegal mining activities will probably continue to proliferate in the coming years as long as the cryptocurrencies are still valid for criminals and targeted machines and devices remain vulnerable
On the other hand, if the value of cryptocurrency falls, as was the recent trend with Bitcoin, bad actors could abandon mining campaigns and exploit their access to systems compromises to perform ransomware attacks or perhaps steal data, the report continues.
The CTA also predicted that attackers could start attacking "non-currency blockchain technologies" in de development that companies can use to "track transactions, share information, keep records, or support smart contracts"
For example, smaller blockchain networks can be sensitive to so-called "51% attacks", with which hackers control the majority of the hashing power of the blockchain, which allows them to prevent transactions or even alter records.
"An attack of this kind on a blockchain could have devastating consequences, depending on what is used for the corporate blockchain
," says CTA.
Finally, the report anticipates that rogue nation-states will begin to play a more active role in encryption attacks as a means of raising funds, going beyond sanctions and supporting other offensive information campaigns. Noting that North Korean cyber-actors are already suspected of launching a ransomware attack, conducting cybernetics attacks and stealing from cryptocurrency portfolios, CTA concludes in his report that there are "few reasons to believe they would not conduct illegal extraction. of cryptocurrencies as another way to increase "Furthermore," we expect other nation states, such as Iran or Russia, to exploit the illegal mining of cryptocurrencies for the same reasons. "
The CTA research cited a series of recent reports from member organizations to support its premise. For example, last June Fortinet noted that the number of client companies affected by miners rose from 13% in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 28% in the first quarter of 2018. Meanwhile, a June report of June reported over 2.9 million of malware in the first quarter of 2018 – an increase of 629 percent compared to almost 400,000 samples detected in the previous quarter.
Charles McFarland, a senior researcher at McAfee, said in a company blog that the research report "represents the industry's first joint initiative to educate businesses and consumers about the growing threat of cryptocurrency mining. By improving security positions and adhering to appropriate security practices, we can increase the difficulty of these attacks by succeeding, thus interrupting the harmful behavior. "