The primary reason of cybercriminals to move from ransomware to crypto-miners is potential of a long-term income
The cybercriminals are swiftly moving towards crypto-mining leaving their recent favourite ransomwares, a Kaspersky Security report has found. Moreover, the attackers are increasingly targeting mobile devices with crypto-miners.
“We have found that ransomware is rapidly vanishing, and that cryptocurrency mining is starting to take its place,” the report said.
The report found that the total number of Kaspersky users who encountered ransomware fell by almost 30%, from 2.58 million in 2016-2017 to 1.81 million in 2017-2018. In the same time period, the total number of users who encountered miners rose by almost 44.5% from 1.9 million to 2.73 million.
The primary reason to move from ransomware to crypto-miners is potential of a long-term income. While ransomware provide a potentially large but one-off income for its cybercriminals, miners will provide a lower, but longer lasting one, the report said.
The report covers the period April 2017 to March 2018, and compares it with April 2016 – March 2017.
Mobile users are increasingly coming into the focus of attackers. The total number of users who encountered mobile miners increased – but at a steadier pace, growing by 9.5% from 4,505 to 4,931. Such low number of users may be because not many people install anti-virus or anti-malware software on their mobile phones.
“It is highly likely that the additional growth of mining will come at the expense of mobile miners. For now, they are growing, but at a very steady pace. However, once criminals find a technological solution that makes the profits from mining on mobile devices equivalent to those from mining on PCs, mobile mining will quickly become equal,” the report said.The report further added that particularly worrying trend here is some of the criminals’ key target geographies – China and India – account for around a third of all smartphones in the world. “The population of these countries will, therefore, be particularly vulnerable if smartphone mining really takes off,” Kaspersky warned.