Cryptomining malware has replaced ransomware as the crybercrime tool of choice for the online criminal fraternity, accounting for 32% of all recorded attacks in Skybox Security's mid-year tech threats report.
In the last six months of 2017, ransomware accounted for 32% of all attacks recorded by Skybox, while malicious cryptominers notched up a measly seven percent. But by the first half of 2018, the figures had switched almost exactly: malicious cryptominers accounted for 32% of attacks while ransomware dropped to eight percent.
"In the last few years, ransomware reigned supreme as the shortcut money-maker for cybercriminals," says Ron Davidson, Skybox CTO and vice president of R&D. "It doesn't require data exfiltration, just encryption to hold the data hostage and a ransom note of how the victim can pay up. With cryptominers, the criminals can go straight to the source and mine cryptocurrency themselves. There's no question of if they'll be paid or not."
As companies put precautions in place to thwart the threat of ransomware, cybercriminals found - in cryptomining- a path of lesser resistance, targeting Web browser and mobile device vulnerabilities to plant their malicious payloads
As Skybox director of threat intelligence Marina Kidron, observes: "The recent uptick in value of cryptocurrencies also made this an incredibly profitable attack option."