In Q3 2022, Kaspersky researchers saw a sharp increase in crypto miner variants – an overall growth of over 230% compared to the same period last year.
The number is three times more than in the third quarter of 2021 and now exceeds 150,000. Remaining hidden for months, cybercriminals use the processing power of the victim’s computer to mine cryptocurrency, with an income reaching up to $40.500 (2 BTC) per month. Monero (XMR) is the most popular cryptocurrency for malicious mining.
With the beginning of the “crypto winter of 2022”, when the value of cryptocurrencies dropped significantly, the cryptocurrency industry is facing a liquidity crisis. Despite that, criminal activity targeting cryptocurrency industry does not seem to be slowing down, according to Kaspersky’s new research paper ‘The state of cryptojacking in 2022’.
Cryptocurrency mining is a painstaking and costly process, but very a rewarding one at the same time – hence, it attracts cybercriminals’ interest. Making money using crypto miners is profitable for cybercriminals – they don’t pay for equipment, or for electricity, which is rather expensive in 2022.
They install mining software on the victim’s computer to use its processing powerwithout the user’s consent. It does not require much specialist technical expertise.
In fact, all the attacker needs to know is how to create a miner using open-source code, or where to buy one. If the cryptomining malware is installed successfully on the victim’s computer, it provides its operator with steady earnings.
In fact, 2022 saw a sharp increase in the number of new modifications to malicious mining programs. During the first three quarters of 2022, expert analysis identified 215 843 new miners, more than twice as many as last year.