- Cryptojacking cases dropped 40% between June 2018 and June 2019 according to Microsoft
- The drop is largely down to the crypto bear market making cryptojacking less lucrative to hackers
- With crypto se to rise once more, cases will likely increase in the next 12 months
Microsoft has revealed that cryptojacking attacks were down 40% in 2019 compared to 2018, with just 50 clients in every 100,000 reporting attacks. Microsoft puts this down to the impact of the 2018-19 bear market which made cryptocurrency a less lucrative proposition, with the western nations being the least affected nations over the year, but with crypto bouncing back we could see an increase in cases very soon.
Cryptojacking Peaked in 2018
Microsoft’s cryptojacking statistics came via their Security Endpoint Threat Summary 2019, which echoes the sentiment felt by other security firms that cryptojacking, where hackers discreetly remotely control a compromised computer and use its CPU power to mine cryptocurrencies for themselves, have been reducing since their peak in 2018.
Cryptojacking was big business in 2017 and 2018, with security firm Cyber Threat Alliance logging a 400% increase in cryptojacking cases between June 2017 and June 2018 as cryptocurrency hit the headlines and rocketed in value. Individual cases have even made headlines – in May 2018 200,000 Mikrotic-made routers were hit by a cryptojacking virus, with 30,000 routers in India receiving the same treatment five months later.
As an example of how popular cryptojacking was until recently, Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point found that cryptojacking scripts were the “most wanted” type of malware in 2018, although this seems to have been something of a red herring if Microsoft’s analysis indicative of a wider trend.
Time to Get Protected
Despite Microsoft’s findings that cases had dropped overall, countries with “poor security hygiene and minimal security education and awareness among users” have seen a rise in cases, with Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, and Peru the locations that bucked the trend and saw an uptick in cases between 2018 an 2019.
With the cryptocurrency markets seemingly set for a bull run in the next 1-2 years we could well see the number of cryptojacking cases on the rise, making it more important than ever to ensure that you protect yourself from such attacks.