Cryptojacking, a form of malware that uses a computer’s processing power to mine cryptocurrencies without the owner’s consent, has seen a record of increased activity in the first quarter of 2018.
According to a research done by McAfee Labs, cryptojacking has risen to around 629% more than any other form of malware activity.
Security firm McAfeee said the surge can be attributed to the following:
- Monetizing computer infections without the user’s consent is easier than other forms of ransomware.
- There is no need for a middleman.
- It can be left in auto mode; there’s minimal effort involved.
- It has the least risk of discovery.
- This makes cryptojacking more straightforward and less risky.
- Getting paid in anonymous crypto means there is no need for an authorized financial institution for verification.
The malware seems to be done via a code from Coinhive, a program that can be embedded on websites so that anyone accessing those websites will have their computer power used to mine the cryptocurrency – Monero.
While many deploy the a mining program without the consent of the user, others, like this UNICEF website asks its website visitors before deploying the mining code. Proceeds on the mining will be used for its outreach programs.
A separate from Kaspersky Labs have confirmed the decline of ransomware, a malicious activity where the computer infected is locked up, and to be released if the user pays.
Kasperky Labs said cryptojacking is now more popular because its a discreet way of exploiting users compared to ransomware.