Ransomware has been a big problem over the past few years. Criminals are now actively revisiting this malware family to focus on cryptomining and cryptojacking. Cryptocurrencies remain incredibly appealing to criminals, despite the falling prices affecting all markets.
Ransomware Makes an Annoying Comeback
Over the past year, it almost seemed as if ransomware would no longer be a factor. Criminals have tried their hand at many different approaches to earn money. Malware remains a go-to solution, as it can accommodate many potential revenue streams. With cryptojacking on the rise, some developers are going back to their ransomware ways.
New malware strains have been identified by Kaspersky and Fortinet. One new ransomware’s variant now encompasses a whole new set of tools. Like their modern counterparts, cryptojacking and cryptomining features are not difficult to come by. Just demanding a Bitcoin ransom is no longer sufficient for criminals. This may be because so many people ignore these requests and resort to other methods to use infected devices again.
To ensure criminals make money, adding new features to a nefarious payload makes a lot of sense. One of the older ransomware types in history has a new version which showcases this change of heart. It can perform its normal tasks or switch to cryptomining if needed. This makes it all the more important for victims to get rid of this malicious software as soon as possible.
Bitcoin and Monero Remain Popular
Judging by the currently identified strains, a lot of ransomware types will still mine Bitcoin. This is in stark contrast to how most cryptomining and cryptojacking attacks work. Those efforts primarily mine Monero, because it is CPU- and GPU-friendly. Bitcoin, on the other hand, requires specialized hardware to generate any decent amount of cryptocurrency.
The revamped malware strains will undoubtedly undergo more changes. It appears criminals are merely testing the waters with these new projects. Cryptocurrencies remain very popular as more consumers show an interest in this form of money. Given the lackluster security precautions found on most computers, multi-pronged attacks can yield spectacular successes.
Similar to cryptocurrency, ransomware is an industry in its infancy. Signs of maturity will become apparent as more time progresses. Less reliance on one type of attack is such an evolutionary development. For computer users, this is anything but good news. It is now up to security researchers to build sophisticated countermeasures. Nipping these threats in the bud remains the top priority for the foreseeable future.
What steps do you take to protect yourself from cryptojacking and cryptomining malware? Let us know in the comments below.
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