The crypto market crash made it less attractive to steal cryptocurrencies

  • Cryptocurrency mining malware captured most of the crypto threats in the second third of the year.
  • Among the hijackers, encrypting malware was the only type of Trojan that did not show growth during this period.
  • China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency has not only affected mining but also malware activity.

Well, here is some good news about the drop in cryptocurrency prices. It appears that the drop in the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has been accompanied by a decrease in crypto-related malware activity online as well. According to a report by cybersecurity firm ESET, crypto- and mining-related malware relies on the market itself, and thus its activity also declined when the market fell during the second third of the year.

“Cryptocurrency threats have decreased due to the turmoil in the cryptocurrency market,” the report said, citing developments in China in May. It noted that crypto-malware detections saw a “significant decline” in May, down 23.6%.

China, the world’s largest mining hub, issued a new ban on crypto and mining businesses late last month, prompting big players like Binance and Huobi to stop allowing Chinese customers to use their services.

Furthermore, the report stated that the two encryption servers were the only information-stealing malware that did not rise during this period. Overall, the category of information handlers grew by 15.7%, driven by growth in all other subcategories. “The overall increase in detections is not surprising – in the age of the Internet, information is a lucrative commodity that can be easily monetized by malicious actors, whether they are looking for credit card numbers or conducting serious electronic espionage,” the report said.

Crypto servers and Infostealers are malware designed to steal cryptocurrency from users and certain types of information, such as login information, passwords, and more.

There is still cause for concern

However, the report cautioned that the decline in malware activity does not mean there is no cause for concern. “The decrease in cybercriminal activity surrounding cryptocurrency does not mean that everything has been calm on this front,” the report said, adding that cryptocurrency investment scams are becoming “more common than ever.”

“Cryptocurrency prices, along with the popularity of crypto companies, are largely influenced by government regulations and public announcements regarding major investments in certain digital currencies,” said Jerry Krupach, ESET Head of Threat Detection Labs. On the other hand, cryptocurrency traders do not depend on the volatile cryptocurrency market. There is no reason for cybercriminals to abandon them if the value of the currency drops, because they are a reliable tool, bringing profits as well as opportunities for extortion.”

In these scams, cybercriminals and scammers lure victims with fake investment sites or impersonate government authorities and even celebrities to steal valuable information and cryptocurrencies from users. “The US Federal Trade Commission reported in May that since October 2020, people have lost more than $80 million in these scams. The number is very likely higher, because, out of shame, people tend not to report being scammed.” Note the report.

Rank Most Discovered Cryptocurrency Threat
1 Win / CoinMiner PUA
2 Win/CoinMiner Trojan
3 JS / CoinMiner PUA

Source: ESET Threat Report T2 2021

The ESET report stated that the Win/Coinminer PUA was the “most detected threat to cryptocurrencies” during the second quarter of the year. It accounts for approximately 52% of crypto software detections and 49.5% of all cryptographic software threats. The Win/Coinminer Trojan ranks second with 13.5% and 12.8%, respectively.

Miner Trojans covertly use people’s computers to mine cryptocurrencies, often causing the machines to abnormally heat up and even catch fire. ESET data stated that Russia was among the worst affected countries in the world, followed by Peru and the United States.

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