How much would a successful ransomware attack cost your organization? $2.4 million? $3.8 million? How about $7.35 million? These are the average costs incurred to recover from ransomware attacks depending on whether you agree with Accenture’s, Microsoft’s or IBM’s calculations. Scary, isn’t it?
What’s even scarier is that ransomware may not be your biggest problem. Several security companies have reported “cryptojacking” is growing in popularity among cybercriminals due to it being a cheaper, less-risky-yet-more-profitable form of malware than ransomware. Furthermore, it’s virtually undetectable.
What is Cryptojacking?
Crypto-jacking is the unauthorized use of someone else’s computer to mine cryptocurrency. Cybercriminals infect computers with a crypto-mining code that works in the background, mining cryptocurrency and delivering it to attackers as unsuspecting victims use their computers normally.
Although individual computers don’t yield much processing power on their own, attackers can build a botnet of infected devices and make them work together – harnessing vast processor resources across a network of infected computers and stealing a small amount of bandwidth from each.
The cost to the organization is the loss of performance or – if operating in the cloud – the cost of provisioning more resources to cope with greater processing demands. However, the latest strains of crypto-jacking malware have the built-in ability to crash victims ́ computers if they attempt to remove it.
How is Cryptojacking Malware Deployed?
It will come as no surprise to learn the most common way computers are infected is via phishing emails. Cybercriminals send the phishing emails to unsuspecting victims, inviting them to click on a link, which either downloads the crypto-mining code directly, or redirects the victim to a compromised website.
The compromised website could be entirely genuine except for an injected script that automatically executes, and will therefore fail to appear on URIBL or SURBL blacklists. Cryptojacking detection is difficult for anti-virus software because scripts are constantly changing.
Although some security solutions are waking up to the threat of crypto-jacking, there is no perfect cryptojacking blocker. The best way to avoid becoming a victim of this malware strain is to stay ahead of the phishing methods being used to deploy cryptojacking.
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