Monero [XMR] – Most popular among malware groups?

Palo Alto Network, a global cryptosecurity platform, has concluded after a research that about 5% of all Monero is mined illegally. This accounts for an estimate of 15.9 million XMR. Cryptomining via malware or cryptojacking is simply the act of using a computing power of a system without its user’s awareness and permission. This lets cyber-criminals generate a large sum of cryptocurrency through cryptomining.

According to Kaspersky Labs, a single botnet for cryptocurrency mining can bag a cyber-criminal more than $30,000/month. It is also found that 2% of all hashing power to mine Monero is generated by mining malware communities.

A Twitter user says:

“So I guess the real percentage is a lot higher if #cryptojacking was included?”

To which, another Twitterati replies:

“Yes, it would be higher. If you look at Coinhive’s hashrate from September 2017 (last and only time it was published) — it was 13.5 MH/s. While we can’t say all of it’s due to cryptojacking, we know a large portion of it is.”

In recent past, there was a talk of Coinhive, a JavaScript miner for the Monero Blockchain being injected into a malicious java code to run a cryptojacking attack. A security researcher named Troy Mursch investigated the matter and found out that Coinhive was running in the background on several governmental and university websites without anyone’s knowledge.

Since Amazon and USA were the common host and location of the most affected websites respectively; Mursch suggested Drupal as a major factor in comprising the security of these sites.

Monero’s added privacy features and anonymity are the apparent reasons for the coin to become the prime target of cryptojackers. Apart from the vulnerable Amazon devices, Android phones and tabs are believed to be exposed to the threat. An oddly slow device can mean that its computing power is secretly being used up in mining Monero!

As the risk of cryptojacking ascends, there are smart preventive measures that can minimize this risk. An ad-blocking or anti-cryptomining extension can detect cryptomining scripts to protect a device from such malware. Using antivirus products that have included endpoint protection to detect crypto miners can be another combative tool to ensure cyber security.

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