The cryptocurrency craze of 2018 helped drive a 1,500 percent increase in coinmining malware when compared to 2017, according to eSentire.
Coinmining malware mines cryptocurrency (typically Monero) directly on infected endpoint devices (CoinMiner) or in web browsers (Coinhive) when a user visits a website running malicious code. Once infected, the coinmining malware silently mines cryptocurrency while consuming a significant amount of processor cycles. With the recent decline in the value of cryptocurrencies, the computing, power and cooling costs to legitimately mine cryptocurrencies now exceeds their value on the open market. Monero-based malware does not face these same economic challenges as all of the mining costs are absorbed by the device owner.
Read more about the findings of the eSentire report on Help Net Security.