Cryptomining Malware: What It Is & How It Works

Cryptomining MalwareCryptomining malware is being loaded on computers to mine for CryptoCurrencies.

Since the development of BitCoin, cryptocurrencies have seen a tremendous surge in popularity. In recent months, the value of all the major cryptocurrencies has spiked. This has fueled even greater interest and speculation.

What Is Cryptomining Malware

That growing interest is also fueling something else. There’s been an increase of currency mining software installed on users’ machine.

This is a very different kind of attack.

Traditionally, a hacker will attack your machine in order to breach your network and gain access to sensitive company data.

What a cryptocurrency miner wants, though, is your processing power.

How It Works

The way it works is this. All cryptocurrencies use some variant of the “mining” concept. This helps them create more of their currency. People can download software. Then, they install it on their machines. And at every X-interval, a new unit of the currency will be born, and credited to the miner who “unearthed” it.
 
This, of course, is where your PC or other internet connected device enters the picture. Because why stop at the machines owned and controlled by the hackers themselves? They can infect 100,000 or more computers and put them all to work. This allows them to quietly mine for currency. That’s money in the bank for them.
 
This is the reason we’re now seeing a dramatic rise in such attacks.
 
In 2013, there were less than half a million such attacks over the course of the entire year.
 
By last year, that number had risen to nearly two million. So far in 2017, the number is already at 1.65 million. At the current rate of infection, 2017 stands to handily beat out last year’s total.
 
It’s not as directly threatening as other forms of attacks. However, an infection can dramatically degrade the overall performance of your network. So, it’s certainly not something you’d want to let stand. Certainly, your IT department has yet another threat to keep a watchful eye out for.