Home Analyst Corner Cybercriminals focus on cryptocurrency hijacking
Cybercriminals focus on cryptocurrency hijacking

Cybercriminals focus on cryptocurrency hijacking


McAfee has released its Threats Report: March 2018 that examines how the Q4 spike in Bitcoin value prompted cybercriminals to focus on cryptocurrency hijacking through a variety of methods, including malicious Android apps. According to the report, McAfee saw on average eight new threat samples per second, and the increasing use of fileless malware attacks leveraging Microsoft PowerShell. 

Raj Samani, McAfee Fellow and Chief Scientist

“The fourth quarter was defined by rapid cybercriminal adoption of newer tools and schemes—fileless malware, cryptocurrency mining, and steganography. Even tried-and-true tactics, such as ransomware campaigns, were leveraged beyond their usual means to create smoke and mirrors to distract defenders from actual attacks,” said Raj Samani, McAfee Fellow and Chief Scientist. “Collaboration and liberalized information-sharing to improve attack defenses remain critically important as defenders work to combat escalating asymmetrical cyberwarfare.”

Highlights of the report include:

  • Cybercriminals follow the money into cryptocurrency mining
  • Health care experiences 211% increase in disclosed security incidents in 2017
  • Fileless malware leveraging Microsoft PowerShell grows 267% in Q4 2017
  • New ransomware grows 35%; ends 2017 with 59% growth year over year
  • New mobile malware decreases by 35%; infection rates are highest in South America
  • New Mac OS malware samples increase by 24% in Q4; total Mac OS malware grows 58% in 2017

“By going digital along with so many other things in our world, crime has become easier to execute, less risky and more lucrative than ever before,” said Steve Grobman, Chief Technology Officer for McAfee. “It should be no surprise to see criminals focusing on stealthy fileless PowerShell attacks, low risk routes to cash through cryptocurrency mining, and attacks on soft targets such as hospitals.”



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