1M Malicious Data Miners Detected in Q1 of 2020
By ROSE DE LA CRUZ
As companies now depend more on work from home arrangements and online transactions, cyberthreats have commensurately increased in the first quarter of 2020, with 1 million detections of such illegal data miners’ attacks during the period. These targeted mostly small and medium businesses with Asia Pacific accounting for most of the attacks.
Several studies from Kaspersky, global cybersecurity company, have shown that companies are concerned about data breaches and ransomware, with the biggest threat in Southeast Asian small and medium businesses (SMBs).
In the first three months of 2020, Kaspersky solutions foiled over 1 million (data) mining attempts against devices of businesses in Southeast Asia (SEA) with 20-250 employees.
This is 12 percent more compared with 949,592 mining incidents blocked in the same period last year.
The total number of miners detected in Q1 is also significantly more than the 834,993 phishing attempts and 269,204 ransomware detections against SMBs in the region.
“We cannot refute the fact that malicious mining is far less destructive compared with ransomware, data breaches, and the like but it remains a risk that SMBs should consider seriously. Cybercriminals behind these attacks are using your own resources, from your electricity, your data bandwidth, to your devices’ hardware which are not cheap at all,” comments Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.
“Our previous study found out that two days’ straight of mining cryptocurrency using mobile mining malware can leave an infected device’s battery bloated to the point of physically deforming the phone. Think footing the bill without eating the meal, that’s how illegal miners work.”Malicious mining, also known as cryptojacking, are attacks that can inflict both direct and indirect losses for a business. Cryptocurrency miners that infect the computers of unsuspecting users essentially operate according to the same business model as ransomware programs: the victim’s computing power is harnessed to enrich the cybercriminals.
Aside from a substantial increase in electrical consumption and usage of CPU, mining increases the wear and tear on hardware by having processing cores, including those belonging to discrete graphics cards, working overtime to mine ill-gotten cryptocurrency.
The wasted bandwidth also decreases the speed and efficiency of legitimate computing workloads. Moreover, a cryptojacking malware can overwhelm a system, causing severe performance problems, which will have an immediate effect on businesses’ networks and ultimately, their customers.
Kaspersky’s data further reveals that Indonesia and Vietnam were among the countries in SEA and globallywith the highest number of mining attempts against SMBs. Most of the six countries in the region, except the Philippines and Thailand, have also recorded an increase in terms of this malware’s detection in the first quarter of 2020.
Aside from unlicensed software, miners can also get into computers via adware installers and infected content distributed using social engineering as well as infected USBs.
To block malicious software from adware and infected content being spread through email, SMBs can use Kaspersky Security for Microsoft Office 365. This tool is an advanced,all-in-one threat protection for Microsoft Office 365’s communication and collaboration services. It curbs the spread of malicious threats including ransomware, viruses, Trojans, phishing, among others.
It is currently being given free for six months to SMBs in SEA.
As the human-factor plays a huge role in this type of threat, businesses can also utilize the 20-30 minutes free online course from Kaspersky. This free training tackles how companies can secure their current remote working environment.