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Cryptojacking attacks topped five million in 2018

Kaspersky Lab says first three quarters of last year saw more than five million malicious currency mining attacks

Malicious crypto currency mining software over took ransomware as the most common threat of 2018.
Malicious crypto currency mining software over took ransomware as the most common threat of 2018.

The first three quarters of 2018 saw over five million users targeted by cryptojacking attacks, an increase of 83%, according to Kaspersky Lab.

The security company said that crypto currency mining malware was mainly concealed in pirated software or unlicensed content. By March, around 1.2 million users per month were being attacked.

Cryptojacking malware was more prevalent than ransomware in 2018, the company added. The share of miners detected, from the overall number of threats detected also grew, from 5% in 2017 to 8% in 2018;

Kaspersky said that neither cryptocurrency legislation nor the cost of power has a significant impact on the spread of malicious mining malware, but that the rate of incidents seems to be higher in regions that have more distribution of unlicensed software.

"Our analysis of the economic background of malicious crypto mining and the reasons for its widespread presence in certain regions revealed a clear correlation: the easier it is to distribute unlicensed software, the more incidents of malicious crypto miner activity were detected. In short, an activity not generally perceived as dangerous: the downloading and installation of dubious software, underpins what is arguably the biggest cyberthreat story of the year - malicious crypto mining," said Evgeny Lopatin, security expert at Kaspersky Lab.

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