More than 1.65 million computers were targeted by cryptocurrency mining malware attacks in the first eight months of 2017, according to a new report from Kaspersky Lab.
The Russia-based cybersecurity outfit said on Tuesday that the figure represents the number of computers, running Kaspersky software, that were protected from the malicious software, which can turn a machine into a remotely-controlled mining device without the owner actually knowing.
The total for 2017 thus far seems on pace to exceed the number of attacks detected in 2016, which totaled 1.8 million. By comparison, Kaspersky detected just over 700,000 mining malware attacks in 2014.
Partially underpinning the incidents, the company said, are several large-scale botnets dedicated to malicious mining activities.
The report said:
The company only released the number of its own clients protected, and did not clarify how many machines they thought were infected globally, or if any of their customers were infected despite their protection.
Cryptocurrency mining botnets are nothing new. One of the newer botnets discovered in 2017 was developed out of a US National Security Agency exploit leaked by a group of hackers referred to as the Shadow Brokers.
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