With the popularization of cryptocurrencies since the explosion of the price of Bitcoin, hackers have decided to change their tune. As evidenced by the latest research from Atlas VPN and Trend Micro, cryptojacking attacks, malware developed to mine cryptocurrencies from an infected PC, exploded in 2021.
With the price of Bitcoin soon to surpass $50,000, scams and cyberattacks targeting owners of digital assets have become legion. Only a few days ago, we mentioned in our columns these fake Android and iOS applications designed to steal the contents of your digital wallet.
In December 2021, Cryptbot malware was released in a hacker utility to activate Microsoft products without a license key. On Thursday, March 24, 2022, a report from Atlas VPN and Trend Micro, two companies specializing in computer security, reveals that malware developed for cryptocurrency theft was the most used malware in 2021, with 150,909 cyberattacks detected during the year.
“Mining cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ether requires high computing power, a stable internet connection and a lot of electricity. Scammers have discovered ways to install cryptocurrency miners on compromised devices, and send all acquired currencies to their private wallet address.”
Cryptojacking, the new weapon of hackers
These very specific malware are part of the family of Cryptojacking, or malicious cryptocurrency mining in the language of Molière. As you will have understood, the goal of hackers is simple: to infect the PC, smartphone, tablet or server of an individual or a company to covertly mine cryptocurrency from the target’s account.
This technique is particularly effective, especially since it is very difficult to notice that you are the victim of this kind of cyberattack. Indeed, the vast majority of cryptojacking software is designed to remain invisible to the user. In addition, the damage for the victim is considerable: slowdown in PC performance, drastic increase in electricity bills and a device that very often ends up being broken.
As experts from TrendMicro and Atlas VPN explain, cryptohackers usually use regular malware contained in malicious link/mail to infect your PC. Once your device is compromised, the mining code is loaded onto your PC and the hacker can start mining 24 hours a day in the background. This technique is found on Android smartphones, with Trojan horses contained in infected applications. Hackers harness the power of your phone until it becomes unusable.