Cryptojacking: The Latest Large Security Threat

Digital tools bring endless benefits to brands, but as we all know, tech isn't without its vulnerabilities. We recently read a PCR article discussing Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR), which shines a light on the latest, largest security threat: cryptojacking.


The report explains that an increasing number of cyber criminals are using cryptojacking as they seek to create a new and profitable revenue stream.


Explaining cryptocurrency, Mike Fey, president and COO at Symantec said it is a “rising threat to cyber and personal security.”


“The massive profit incentive puts people, devices and organisations at risk of unauthorised coin miners siphoning resources from their systems, further motivating criminals to infiltrate everything from home PCs to giant data centres.”



The ISTR gives an in-depth overview of the threat landscape, like insights into global threats, trends in cybercrime and attacker motivations. It draws on data from Symantec’s Global Intelligence Network, the world’s largest civilian threat collection network that analyses more than 700,000 adversaries, records events from 98 million attack sensors and assesses threat activities in more than 157 countries and territories.


Over the past year, an increase in cryptocurrency values led to a cryptojacking gold rush, where cyber criminals tried to cash in on a vulnerable market. Identifications of coinminers on endpoint computers jumped 8,500% in 2015. The UK was the world’s fifth highest country in terms of coinminer detection incidents, which have risen by a startling 44,000%.


Coin miners can cause devices to slow down, batteries to overheat and in some instances, make devices unusable. For companies, coin miners can increase the risk of corporate network shutdown and inflate cloud CPU usage, hiking costs.


Data from the report showed a 600% jump in overall IoT attacks in 2017, suggesting that cyber criminals could take advantage of these connected devices to mine en masse. For browser-based attacks, criminals don’t even need to download malware on a Mac or PC to conduct attacks.



Many criminals are shifting their focus from ransomware to coin mining to make a significant profit while cryptocurrency values are high. The problem is worsened when older operating systems are still used; for example, only 20% Android devices are running on the newest system, while just 2.3% are on the latest, minor release.


The article concludes: ‘The security industry has long discussed what type of destruction might be possible with cyber attacks. This conversation has now moved beyond theory, with more than [10%] of all attacks designed to disrupt.’


For River Island, designing our IT infrastructure to safeguard sensitive business and customer data is our top priority. As we continue to explore new technologies, we need security specialists who can help to make sure all our IT systems boast the highest level of security. Interested? Take a look at our current vacancies today.



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