Crypto-mining malware saw new life over the summer as Monero value tripled – ZDNetSeptember 18, 2019
Malware that mines cryptocurrency has made a comeback over the summer, with an increased number of campaigns being discovered and documented by cyber-security firms.
The primary reason for this sudden resurgence is the general revival of the cryptocurrency market, which saw trading prices recover after a spectacular crash in late 2018.
Monero, the cryptocurrency of choice of most crypto-mining malware operations, was one of the many cryptocurrencies that were impacted by this market slump. The currency also referred to as XMR, has gone down from an exchange rate that orbited around $300 – $400 in late 2017 to a meager $40 – $50 at the end of 2018.
But as the Monero trading price recovered throughout 2018, tripling its value from $38 at the start of the year, to nearly $115 over the summer, so have malware campaigns.
This recovery in XMR trading price has resulted in a spike in the activity of Monero-based crypto-mining malware operations.
These are criminal operations during which hackers infect systems with malware that’s specifically designed to secretly mine Monero behind the computer owner’s back.
Starting with the end of May, the number of reports detailing crypto-mining campaigns published by cyber-security firms has exploded, with a new report published each week, and sometimes new campaigns being uncovered on a daily basis.
History of crypto-mining malware
Crypto-mining malware first became a threat in the early 2000s, when Bitcoin started to become popular. In the beginning, malware operators deployed Bitcoin-based crypto-miners,