Cyber Thieves Turn To “Cryptojacking” As Attacks Multiply
While ransomware attacks are dwindling, cyber thieves have found a new way to steal: cryptojacking. This cyber crime, which involves hijacking other people’s computers to mine cryptocurrencies, saw an alarming 399% increase in the first half of 2023, reaching a total of 332.3 million attacks. This activity has been around for at least a decade, but it’s growing fast. It’s now more than the total number of attacks in 2020, 2021, and 2022 combined.
The victims of this stealthy crime often remain unaware, noticing only slower device performance or higher than usual electricity bills. The favorite digital currency for these thieves is Monero, prized for its privacy features. Notably, when coin market prices drop, these criminals don’t back down. Instead, the number of attacks spike as they scramble to maintain their gains.
So who’s on the receiving end of this digital heist? The EU, US, Denmark, Germany, France, and the United Arab Emirates have the dubious honor of being the most targeted, with Europe overall suffering a 788% increase in incidents. The sectors with the highest surge in attacks? Education, with a 320-times increase, and healthcare, with a 69-times increase.
Despite the fading threat of ransomware, these figures suggest that crypto-thieves aren’t planning to retire anytime soon. From state-backed threats to rogue employees, cybercriminals of all types are turning to cryptojacking for its discreet nature and lucrative returns.