Cryptojacking attacks, defined as the secret use of a computing device to mine cryptocurrency, rose by a massive 8,500 per cent around the globe in 2017, says a recent research report by cyber security giant Symantec. The report, also reveals that India ranks second in Asia-Pacific Japan region, when it comes to cryptojacking and is the ninth most affected country around the world. "During the past year, an astronomical rise in cryptocurrency values triggered a cryptojacking gold rush with cyber criminals attempting to cash in on a volatile market," says the report.
The report claims that the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies has made it a more lucrative option for cyber criminals, who are adding cryptojacking to their arsenal and creating a highly profitable revenue stream as the ransomware market becomes overpriced and overcrowded.
According to Tarun Kaura, Director, Enterprise Security Product Management, Asia Pacific and Japan at Symantec, the massive profit incentive puts people, devices, and organisations at risk of unauthorised coin-miners siphoning resources from their systems. "Now you could be fighting for resources on your phone, computer or IoT device as attackers use them for profit. People need to expand their defenses or they will pay for the price for someone else using their devices," he added.
Coinminer, using a device illegally, can slow devices, overheat batteries, and in some cases render devices unusable. In India, many companies have been used for coin-mining recently and were left unaware about it for a long time.
The report also revealed that IoT devices continue to be ripe target for cyber attacks around the world and found a 600 per cent increase in overall IoT attacks in 2017. Malware attacks saw an increase on 200 per cent in the period. Threats in mobile space too continued to grow in the period. Symantec claims it blocked an average of 24,000 malicious mobile applications each day last year. It claims that India featured amongst the top ten list of countries where mobile malware was most frequently blocked in 2017.
Globally, the report says, US remains the country with most threats in 2017, followed by China and then India.
The Internet Security Threat report by Symantec, the developer of Norton AntiVirus, is based on data from Symantec's Global Intelligence Network, which records events from 126.5 million attack sensors worldwide and monitors threat activities in over 157 countries and territories.