Crypto crime is still relatively prominent throughout the space, but the good news is that mining attacks are reaching an all-time low.
Is Crypto-Jacking Disappearing?
Recently, Live Bitcoin News reported that crypto thefts and related cyberattacks were still a huge problem. Among some of the largest crypto thefts of the last few years include Mt. Gox and Coincheck, both of which took place in Japan.
Mt. Gox occurred in February of 2014. More than $400 million in bitcoin was stolen, and very few of the funds have been returned at press time. Mt. Gox set the record for the largest crypto-based hack until Coincheck occurred nearly four year later in January 2018. The theft saw more than $500 million in assorted crypto funds disappear overnight.
The event saw Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) getting involved in the country’s cryptocurrency arena. The organization began sending threatening letters to all cryptocurrency exchanges or companies that didn’t meet its present security standards.
Lately, one of the biggest threats in the digital asset world happens to be crypto-jacking. The process involves a hacker tacking control of a person’s computer without their knowledge or consent and using that person’s energy supply to mine cryptocurrency, usually the quasi-anonymous Monero. The hacker makes a profit from the mining, while the victim earns no funds and gets stuck with whopping energy bills at the end of each month.
However, a new report from antivirus provider Malwarebytes suggests that crypto-jacking cases have dropped by roughly 79 percent over the last year. Coinhive, for example, was at one time the largest form of software designed for crypto-jacking, but it was shut down in early March.
Jerome Segura, a company researcher at Malwarebytes, says that Coinhive ultimately vanished due to Monero’s slinking prices and lagging crypto business, but that the company has ultimately inspired some “copycats.” He states:
In-browser mining has decreased overall, but there are some contenders such as Crypto Loot and Coin IMP. The big difference, though, is that most of the sites that are loading those miners are torrent portals, or file-hosting services, as opposed to compromised websites like we used to see in the past.
He has mentioned, however, that Malwarebytes’ has not been made to block as many crypto-based hacking attempts over the last few months.
What’s the Reason for the Change?
Another company that’s noticed major differences is McAfee. Researcher Charles McFarland explains:
The shutdown of Coinhive is not necessarily the driver. Issues stemming from the popularity of Monero, and declining mining profitability in general have likely played a much larger role in the decline of attacks. For example, Monero is battling custom, specialized miners taking up a large portion of the network and have forked their network in response. The specialized miners leave smaller miners, such as browsers, little room to profit.