A new report by security firm Kaspersky shows that cryptocurrency mining attacks fell sharply during 2019 but that ransomware involving crypto is on the rise.
According to the “Kaspersky Security Bulletin ‘19” report, the total number of mining malware infections fell drastically in 2019. While the overall number of “unique malicious objects” reported by Kaspersky rose 13.7% on the year, mostly related to web-skimmer files designed for stealing credit cards, web-miner infections declined 59% from 5.638 million infected machines to 2.259 million.
However, certain crypto-mining malware scripts still made the top 20 list of threats, particularly applications that force a users’ computer to mine cryptocurrency in the background.
Kaspersky security analyst Denis Parinov said,
We have observed that the number of ‘common’ attacks against home users is slightly decreasing, but that the number of ‘loud’ public cases of crypto-ransomware infections is growing – for example, just two days ago New Orleans was hit by a ransomware.
Parinov believes hackers previously involved in mining have moved on to more lucrative opportunities, including the use of crypto-based ransomware.
Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky, Kaspersky’s head of anti-malware research, added,
[Mining attacks] have lost their popularity due to lower profitability and cryptocurrencies’ fight against covert mining.