The crypto market crash made it less attractive to steal cryptocurrencies
- Crypto mining malware accounted for most of the crypto-threats in the second third of the year.
- Amongst infostealers, crypto-malware were the only kind of trojans that didn’t show growth during the period.
- China’s crypto crackdowns have affected not just mining, but also malware activity.
AdvertisementWell here’s some good news about the crypto price drops. It seems that the drop in the prices of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has been accompanied by a drop in crypto related malware activity online as well. According to a report by cybersecurity company ESET, crypto and mining related malware are dependent on the market itself and hence their activity also fell when the market went down during the second third of the year.
“Cryptocurrency threats decreased due to upheaval in the cryptocoin market,” the report said and cited developments in China in May. It noted that crypto-malware detections experienced a “significant decline” in May, falling by 23.6%.
The world’s largest crypto mining hub, China, also issued a fresh ban on crypto and mining businesses late last month, leading large players like Binance and Huobi to stop allowing Chinese customers from using their services.
Further, the report said that cryptostealers were the only information stealing malware that didn’t rise during the period. Overall, the infostealers category grew by 15.7%, spurred by growth in all other subcategories. “The overall increase in detections comes as no surprise – in the age of the internet, information is a lucrative commodity that can be easily monetized by malicious actors, whether they are on the lookout for credit card numbers or conducting serious cyberespionage,” the report said.
Cryptostealers and infostealers are malware designed to steal cryptocurrency from users, and specific kinds of information, like login information, passwords and more.
There’s still cause for concern
That said, the report warned that the drop in malware activity doesn’t mean that there’s no cause for concern. “The decrease in cybercriminal activity surrounding cryptocurrencies does not mean that all was quiet on this front,” the report said, adding that cryptocurrency investment scams are “more popular than ever”.
“Cryptocurrency prices, along with the popularity of cryptominers, are very much influenced by government regulations and public announcements regarding major investments into specific cryptocoins,” said Jiří Kropáč, ESET Head of Threat Detection Labs. “Cryptostealers, on the other hand, are not that dependent on the volatile cryptocurrency market. There’s no reason for cybercriminals to abandon them if a coin drops in value, since they represent a reliable tool, bringing in profit as well as blackmail opportunities,” he added.
In these scams, cybercriminals and con artists lure victims to fake investment websites or impersonate government authorities and even celebrities to steal valuable information, and crypto from users. “The US Federal Trade Commission reported in May that since October 2020, people have lost more than $80 million to these scams. The number is very likely to be even higher, since, out of shame, people tend to underreport getting scammed,” the report noted.
|Rank||Most-detected cryptocurrency threat|
Source: ESET Threat Report T2 2021
ESET’s report said Win/Coinminer PUA was the “most detected cryptocurrency threat” during the second third of the year. It amounted to almost 52% of cryptominer detections and 49.5% of all cryptominer threats. The Win/Coinminer Trojan took the second sport, with 13.5% and 12.8%, respectively.
Miner trojans discreetly use people’s computers to mine cryptocurrencies, often causing devices to heat up unnaturally and even catch fire. ESET’s data said that Russia was amongst the most affected countries in the world, followed by Peru and the United States.
For a more in-depth discussion, come on over to Business Insider Cryptosphere — a forum where users can deep dive into all things crypto, engage in interesting discussions and stay ahead of the curve.
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