Ransomware ditched in favour of crypto miners, report highlights

Published on: 9 Jul 2018

Cyber criminals are increasingly ditching ransomware in favour of malicious crypto miners, a report from Kaspersky Lab has suggested.

The number of internet users falling victim to malicious crypto miners has skyrocketed by almost half in the past year from 1.9 million to 2.7 million, according to the cyber security company.

This had been linked to a dramatic decrease in ransomware attacks between April 2017 and March 2018, falling by almost 30 per cent for PC users and 22.5 per cent for mobile.

Similarly, the number of users attacked with mobile ransomware fell by five per cent from 130,232 in 2016-2017 to 100,868 in 2017-2018, while the number of users who encountered mobile miners grew by the same proportion from 4,505 in 2016-2017 to 4,931 in 2017-2018.

Anton Ivanov, a security expert at Kaspersky Lab, said the reasons behind these changes in the cyber threat landscape were clear.

“For cybercriminals, ransomware is a noisy and risky way of making money; it attracts media and state attention,” he explained.

“The mining model, however, is easier to activate and more stable - attack your victims, discreetly build crypto currency using their CPU or GPU power, and then transfer that into real money through legal exchanges and transactions.”