Kaspersky: Botnets Tapped for Crypto Malware

Botnets are increasingly used to spread malicious cryptocurrency mining software, according to the latest report by the Kaspersky Labs.

In its security bulletin, the cybersecurity firm said the first three months of 2018 saw the number of users attacked by cryptocryptocurrency miners skyrocketing year-on-year.

Kaspersky said this was aggravating toward the end of 2018 with September victims growing more than at the start of the year.

“The threat is still current,” the report further added, although failing to clarify whether it factored in the recent plunge in the cryptocurrency markets.

In addition, a considerable drop was noted in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. This decline was attributed to the possibility of “the ‘reprofiling’ of botnets from DDoS attacks to cryptocurrency mining.”

“Evidence suggests that the owners of many well-known botnets have switched their attack vector toward mining. For example, the DDoS activity of the Yoyo botnet dropped dramatically, although there is no data about it being dismantled,” the analysts of the firm said.

The organization looked into reasons why this type of malware is becoming rampant. A primary possibility is the difficulty for victims and police to detect the distributors of such software as it disallows computers from notifying a threat or issue, thus preventing early detection.

Meanwhile, regions where such illicit activities thrive find common ground in the fact that they have lax licensing rules which pirated and illicitly distributed software can easily dodge.

This showed true as Kazkhstan, Vietnam and Indonesia, which are more lenient to cryptocurrency mining attackers, topped the list.

The more developed countries were least affected. US was the smallest in victim volume, accounting for 1.53 percent. This was followed by users in Switzerland and Britain.


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