A recent report indicated that as proof-of-work-based cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Monero were increasing in value in 2020, the cryptojacking cases worldwide have surged after a year of continuous decline.
Cryptojacking On The Rise In 2020
The term cryptojacking refers to when an unauthorized person gains access to a computer for mining (or minting) digital assets. These attacks can sometimes be so precise and critical that the victim fails to comprehend what is draining his device’s power for an extended period.
The recent document compiled by the cybersecurity firm Symantec highlighted that these attacks had previously dramatically decreased since the shutdown of the browser-based mining script maker CoinHive in March 2019.
However, the situation has worsened with the start of this year. Another report by the Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky informed of a 300% surge in cryptojacking attempts in Q1 2020 alone.
With Q2, Symantec asserted that the browser-based cryptojacking events blocked by the company “saw an increase of 163% compared to the previous quarter.”
The company attributed the growth to the rising prices and interest in proof-of-work digital assets such as Bitcoin and Monero. BTC dumped to its yearly low of below $4,000 during the most intense days of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, while XMR bottomed at $32. With Bitcoin trading at over $11,000 and Monero spiking to above $90 at the time of this writing, both assets have pumped by approximately 180% since then.
Cryptojacking Is A Growing Threat
Reports highlighting examples of cryptojacking attempts often surface from around the world. A recent one pointed out that Mexico and some other Latin American countries have been targeted multiple times since the start of the year. Mexican companies employing cloud services have complained about being particularly vulnerable to such attacks.
The Slovak cybersecurity firm ESET also noted that it had identified and taken down at least a part of a Monero-mining botnet called VictoryGate. The company warned that VictoryGate has been active for over a year and a half and has infected more than 35,000 devices.
Consequently, it’s no surprise that IT professionals consider cryptojacking a severe concern. A recently conducted study outlined that nearly 90% of IT specialists believe such attacks could disrupt personal devices and more complex networks in company offices. However, they also claimed that very few organizations had initiated proper steps to protect themselves.