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Kaspersky: The Middle East, Turkey and Africa region is witnessing a 230% growth in crypto-mining malware

A. HUSSEIN

In the third quarter of the year 2022 Kaspersky researchers witnessed a sharp rise in various versions of cryptocurrency mining software tools, with a total growth of more than 230% compared to the same period last year. This number is currently three times what it was in the third quarter of the year 500 and exceeds 48,000 software. The researchers found that 000% of all institutional users affected by cryptocurrency miners in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) region were from Egypt, while they were also from Egypt 12% of all individual users affected by this software in the region. Cybercriminals hide for months and exploit the processing power of the computers of the victims they target to mine cryptocurrency, making income of up to 48,500 dollars ( 2 bitcoins) per month. Expert analysis showed that Monero (XMR) is the most popular cryptocurrency in malicious mining.

Dec 1 2022

Cryptocurrencies are facing a significant decline in Its value with the onset of what is known as the “Cryptocurrency Winter of the Year 2022”, and the digital currency sector is facing a liquidity crisis. Criminal activity targeting cryptocurrency does not appear to be slowing though, according to a new research report from Kaspersky titled “The State of Cryptocurrency Mining in 2022”.

Cryptocurrency mining is The process is arduous and expensive, but rewarding, which makes it attractive to cybercriminals, who make money using mining tools and do not pay for the exploitation of equipment and electricity, the prices of which have skyrocketed in the year 2022. Criminals install mining software on the victim’s computer to exploit the processing power of that computer without the user’s consent, and in a procedure that does not require much technical expertise, as all the attacker needs to know is how to create a mining tool using open source code, or buy one. These tools, when successfully installed on target computers, generate steady profits for their operators.

The year 2022 witnessed a sharp increase in the number of new versions of mining malware, and during the first three quarters of the year, Experts have identified 215,843 new mining tools, more than twice as many as last year.

It has been noted This increase is due only to a sharp jump in the third quarter of 2022. The growth rate exceeded 230% compared to the third quarter of 500, while the number of new mining malware 48 reached a thousand

Most of the samples analyzed were mining malware (%) that was secretly mining Monero on victims’ computers. This currency is known for its advanced technologies that anonymize transaction data for maximum privacy. Those who monitor this currency cannot decipher the addresses you trade, transaction amounts, balances, or transaction records, all of which are attractive factors for cybercriminals. In illegal mining it has an average of $1,500 in bitcoins each month. Kaspersky researchers recorded an incoming transaction of 2 BTC, equivalent to 40,500 dollars, in one of the wallets analyzed.

Most often, attackers distribute mining tools through malicious files that disguise themselves as pirated content ranging from movies, music, games, and software, meanwhile, unpatched security vulnerabilities pose a serious challenge to users, while presenting an attractive lure for cybercriminals who They exploit it to deploy mining tools. Telemetrics from Kaspersky solutions show that almost every attack exploiting a security vulnerability was accompanied by a mining infection. In the third quarter of this year, mining tools became more prevalent than backdoors, which were the first choice of cybercriminals throughout the first half of the year.

Although the cryptocurrency sector is not booming in recent days, it has Cryptocurrencies remained in the spotlight throughout the year, according to Andrei Ivanov, a digital security expert at Kaspersky, who was not surprised that cybercriminals wanted to exploit these trends, but indicated that the increasing number of threats was not matched by significant changes in the number of users encountering these tools. software mining. He added: “It is important to raise awareness about the first indications of the presence of malicious mining software on the computer, and it is necessary to install a reliable security solution that prevents these attacks at an early stage.”

The report can be found on “ The State of Cryptocurrency Mining in 2022” on the Securelist.com page.

Kaspersky experts recommend that users take the following measures to protect themselves and their devices from cryptocurrency miners:

Check the integrity of a website before visiting it, make sure the URL prefix https is present, the address is formatted and the company name is spelled, read comments about it and check domain registration data before downloading any material from it.

• Security solutions protect computers and other devices from unauthorized use of processing and computing power in cryptocurrency generation, thus preventing degradation of computer performance.

• Keep software updated on all devices to prevent attackers from Infiltrating the network via exploits.

Using a dedicated security solution such as Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business with application control capabilities AT and the web, to reduce the chances of mining tools being used. Behavior analysis helps to quickly detect malicious activity, while Vulnerability Manager and Patches protect against attackers’ attempts to exploit vulnerabilities.