Kaspersky Warns on Rapid Spread of Malicious Crypto Miners

Kaspersky Lab says crypto-mining malware is quickly replacing ransomware, warning that mobiles could be the next big target.

AccessTimeIconJun 29, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:07 a.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global hub for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Malicious actors are moving from ransomware to crypto-jacking, a leading cybersecurity firm reported Thursday.

Kaspersky Lab, the Russian cybersecurity company, said in a new report that ransomware attacks – where a malicious file locks a computer until a ransom is paid – have declined by nearly half as the perpetrators instead move to deploy crypto-mining malware instead. This is largely because crypto mining is now more profitable than ransomware, according to the report.

In a press release, Kaspersky explained that it compared data from April 2016–March 2017 with data from April 2017–March 2018. It found that ransomware that encrypts users' computers declined by nearly 44.6 percent from 2017 to 2018. In that same time period, crypto-mining malware rose by 44.5 percent.

Moreover, at the number of illicit mining instances jumped from 1.87 million in 2016 to roughly 2.7 million at the end of 2017, the company reported.

Kaspersky said that it expects these numbers to continue growing, particularly with the advance of mobile miners.

The report states:

"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 expressed particular concern for residents of China and India, which own roughly one third of all smartphones worldwide.

"While ransomware has provided a potentially large but one-off income for its cybercriminals, miners will provide a lower, but longer lasting one. Last year we asked what tips the scales for cybercriminals? Today, this is no longer a question. Miners will keep spreading across the globe, attracting more people."

Crypto mining image via Shutterstock

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.


Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.