Malicious Cybercriminals are Favoring Cryptocurrency Scams over Ransomware

Cryptocurrency Marketplace Hack with $64 Million in Bitcoin Stolen, and attackers penetrated IBM SoftLayer database systems cryptomining

Cybercriminals and malware developers are veering away from ransomware in favor of cryptocurrency scams, according to research from cybersecurity firm Trend Micro.

Cryptojacking, a form of cyberattack wherein a hacker hijacks a victim’s computing resources to discreetly mine cryptocurrency, is the biggest rising trend in cybercrime so far this year, according to Trend Micro’s midyear security report.

Cryptojacking numbers have dominated the report’s highlights with the volume of cryptomining attacks for H1 2018 nearly double the number of similar attacks during the entirety of 2017. Cryptomining detections increased more than ninefold in the first half of 2017 in the like-for-like stakes.

Detections of ransomware families, meanwhile, declined 26% in the first half of 2017 compared to the second half of last year. Ransomware growth has also been sluggish in relative terms, gaining 3% from the first half of the year compared to H2 2018.

Trend Micro’s director of global threat communications Jon Clay said:

The recent change in the threat landscape mirrors what we’ve seen for years – cybercriminals will constantly shift their tools, tactics and procedures (TTPs) to improve their infection rates.

New and unusual malware types like fileless, small-file and macro malware are also making marked gains. TinyPOS, a particular small file malware, gained 250 percent in detections compared to the second half of 2017. The spike was a result of its increased ability to circumvent retail cybersecurity defenses that typically only deploy one kind of security protection.

“Standard spray and pray ransomware attacks and data breaches had become the norm, so attackers changed their tactics to be more covert, using entry vectors not previously seen or used extensively,” Clay added. “This means once again, business leaders must evaluate their defenses to ensure sufficient protection is in place to stop the latest and most pressing threats.”

Image credit: Pixabay.