McAfee Labs, the Santa Clara, the California-headquartered cybersecurity firm, along with Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow, Russia-headquartered cybersecurity firm have both come to the same conclusion after conducting their research: crypto jacking has dethroned ransomware and is now a top cyber watchdog in 2018.
Kaspersky Lab data show that the number of users attacked by ransomware has considerably dropped by half, from 1,152,299 in 2016-2017 to 751,606 in 2017-2018. During this same frame of time, there has been a rise in crypto jacking incidents total number, from 1.9 million to 2.7 million. The same also applied to cyber threats detected, from 3% to 4%.
Kaspersky Lab researchers explained that: “Crafty crypto miners have moved up to take ransomware’s place, invading users’ and businesses’ computers and devices and taking advantage of their power to put cryptocurrency in the pockets of thieves. Whereas ransomware enters with a flourish and freaks out its victims, crypto miners strive to remain hidden — the longer they toil, the greater the perpetrators’ profit — and as a result, victims may not notice them for a time.”
McAfee Labs, on their own, found that crypto jacking malware had already grown a colossal 629% to more than 2.9 million known samples in Q1 2018 from about 400,000 samples in Q4 2017, so far. New ransomware samples have decreased by 3% in Q1 2018.
The researchers explained, “Compared with well-established cybercrime activities such as data theft and ransomware, crypto jacking is simpler, more straightforward, and less risky. All criminals must do is infect millions of systems and start monetizing the attack by mining for cryptocurrencies on victims’ systems. There are no middlemen, there are no fraud schemes, and there are no victims who need to be prompted to pay and who, potentially, may back up their systems in advance and refuse to pay.”