Poor security and the proliferation of devices on the internet of things has opened a new source of victims for cryptojackers.
Improving technology means devices such as routers and TV sticks are targets for the crooks illicitly mining cryptocurrencies.
Cryptojacking is fast taking over as the malware crime of choice, says the latest internet threat report from online security experts McAfee.
Device intrusions were up 86% in the second quarter of 2018 to 2.5 million new reports.
Cryptojackers are also starting to target groups rather than individuals.
A Russian gaming forum was infiltrated by a cryptominer claiming to be a moderator who persuaded members to download malware that took over their computers, says the company.
“A few years ago, we wouldn’t think of internet routers, video-recording devices, and other Internet of Things devices as platforms for cryptomining because their CPU speeds were too insufficient to support such productivity,” said Christiaan Beek, lead scientist and senior principal engineer with McAfee Advanced Threat Research.
“Today, the tremendous volume of such devices online and their propensity for weak passwords present a very attractive platform for this activity. If I were a cybercriminal who owns a botnet of 100,000 such IoT devices, it would cost me next to nothing financially to produce enough cryptocurrency to create a new, profitable revenue stream.”
Petro pumped up
Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro has at last announced the launch of national cryptocurrency the petro.
The petro is backed 50% by oil reserves, 20% by gold, 20% by iron, and 10% by diamond holdings.
Maduro stated that the official website for the Petro has already been launched, and the official Petro wallet is also available in Google Play.
With an economy in tatters, inflation running at more than 1,000% and Americans banned from investing in the petro, any success of the move seems unlikely.
China backs blockchain
China is doubling blockchain investment to $6 billion by the end of the year.
Despite banning cryptocurrency exchanges and trading, President Xi Jinping has repeatedly said he sees the blockchain as a breakthrough technology and that he wants China to lead the market.
Head of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s Institute of Industrial Economics, Yu Jianing,said: “Blockchain technology is predicted to be used widely over the next three years in sectors such as copyright protection, product traceability, bill verification, energy, healthcare, and precision making in China.”