The future of digital currencies may be ambiguous, but their effect on cybercrime is crystal-clear. Cryptocurrencies have changed criminals’ motivation and the nature of cyberattacks. Both the anonymity and sharp value increase of cryptocurrency appeal to threat actors, who have most notably used Bitcoin to extort funds from ransomware victims. Criminal activity related to cryptocurrency has driven a surge in different forms of cryptocurrency miners, otherwise known as cryptominers or coin miners. Microsoft’s Windows Defender Research team published a new report on the rise of various coin miners and their enterprise presence.
“Mining is the process of running complex mathematical calculations necessary to maintain the blockchain ledger,” the researchers explain. It’s not malicious, but it does require hefty computing resources to generate coins. Many people and businesses invest in the equipment to legitimately do it. Some people don’t want to make this infrastructure investment, and instead explore ways to use coin mining code to tap into the computing resources of somebody else’s devices.
Read more about the findings of the Microsoft report, which digs into the details of coin mining malware, web-based mining scripts, and legitimate but unauthorized cryptomining applications, and how they are deployed and used, on DarkReading.