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“Year Of the Miner”: Cybersecurity Threats Exposed in ReasonLabs’ 2022 Report

By Reason Cybersecurity

on Thu Mar 31 2022

Having reviewed in depth the cybersecurity threats that have been facing consumers worldwide in our State of Consumer Cybersecurity Report, one of the key takeaways was the prime position that coin miners hold in the cybersecurity ecosystem. 

As our cybersecurity researchers have deduced, 2021 was “the year of the miner”, due to the fact that nearly 60% of all Trojan activity detected were coin miners. 

Cryptocurrencies are becoming ever more popular – and as the crypto mining trend attracts more attention worldwide, it has also, unfortunately (and somewhat inevitably) caught the attention of cybercriminals.

Already in 2022, we’ve seen Bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices crash due to cybersecurity hacking rumors – and it’s only March! 

Additionally, ReasonLabs research has shown that “Trojan viruses are at the top of the list” for 2021 as well – coming as they do in many forms, including ransomware and RATs, and arriving through phishing emails, cracked software and games, and questionable websites.

So how can you protect against these top threats in the future?

Coin Mining 

An understanding of how a crypto-criminal attacks is your first step in preventing this from happening to you. Cybercriminals will try to hijack devices’ processing power, in a type of cyber attack known as ‘cryptojacking.’ 

They use two main methods: 

⚬ Phishing-like tactics – a user is duped into clicking on a link, that will run a code that places a cryptomining Javascript on the computer. The script runs in the background as you use your device, using up excessive amounts of electricity and power. 

⚬ Injecting a script on a website or ad that is delivered to multiple websites – when the victim visits the website, or the infected ad pops up in their browser, the script automatically executes malware. 

Whichever method is used, the code is programmed to run complex calculations on the victims’ computers in order to harvest coins, and send the results back to a server that the hacker controls.  The victim may not realize they have been hacked, until their machine starts to drastically slow down, or they are presented with a hefty electricity bill. 

The fact that cryptomining attacks can run for so long without being detected is one of the reasons it’s becoming so popular – criminals run way less risk of being caught, and they increase their likelihood of continually generating profit, as opposed to a one-off ransomware payment.

Using these basic tips should help protect you against falling victim to these sneaky attacks:

⚬ Use an excellent antivirus on your device, such as RAV antivirus

⚬ Do not download from untrustworthy sites – these are likely entry points for malware

⚬ Utilize a Manage Spam / Filter service, as malware often tries to enter through these channels

Trojans

Unfortunately, there is a large variety of Trojans that we need to protect against. Backdoors, infostealers and DoS (Denial-of-Service) are just a few of the types of malware one could experience.

Trojans can cause all kinds of damage to your device – including blocking or modifying your data, impairing device performance, stealing personal information, planting malicious apps, and redirecting your browser to sites that will infect your device with additional malware.

There are of course a few tips to prevent your device from being infected by Trojan malware. For example: 

⚬ Never download or install software from a source you don’t trust completely

⚬ Do not open email attachments from unknown sources 

⚬ Keep all software on your computer up-to-date with the latest patches

⚬ And again – use a strong antivirus on your device

Forewarned is forearmed – and reading up on all the latest threats so that you can utilize the best ways to protect and defend your devices is a highly recommended starting point. For further information on Trojans, cryptominers and other current malware statistics, download the ReasonLabs’ State of Consumer Cybersecurity report here.

For more information: www.reasonlabs.com