Browser-based cryptojacking surges to 163%

Cybersecurity company Symantec reports that there’s been a massive 163% surge in browser-based cryptojacking in Q2 2020.

The company notes that there had previously been a decline in cryptojacking due to CoinHive shutting down in March 2019.

Cryptojacking skyrockets

The massive increase in browser-based illicit cryptocurrency mining malware coincides with the increase in value for Monero and Bitcoin. Both virtual currencies are popular choices for cryptojacking operators.

Symantec blocked a total of 5,403 browser-based cryptojacking events in May 2020. However, this number rose dramatically to 48,697 events in June 2020.

The period that saw the greatest amount of browser-based coin miners was back in December 2017. At that time, Symantec blocked an eye-opening 8 million such events. This makes sense as Bitcoin fever was spiraling higher and higher as the cryptocurrency hit its all-time high of almost US$20,000 [AUS$27,806].

The number of cryptojacking events dropped down to 5 million in July 2018 as Bitcoin and other virtual currencies fell greatly in value.

Such crypto-mining malware can cause quite a bit of damage to a victim’s device. Cryptojacking can result in overheating batteries, productivity reduction, greater energy consumption, a slower device, and devices even becoming unusable.


Malware on the rise

Symantec also notes that malware attacks have recently surged in May and June. The reason for this major uptick is the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, resulting in allowing criminals the ability to work at full capacity again.

The cybersecurity firm notes it blocked over 60 million malware infection attempts in the second quarter of this year. This number marks a 74.6% increase from the first quarter of 2020.

A number of malware programs are seeing increased use over the last few months. Symantec notes a 630% increase in the use of the Sodinokibi ransomware in the second quarter of 2020.

Cobalt Strike, used in the WastedLocker ransomware, has seen greater use over the last two quarters. Lokibot, an information-stealing malware, rose a staggering 800% from May to June 2020.

Featured image courtesy of Who is Danny/Shutterstock

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