Cryptojacking incidents are on the decline after possibly hitting their peak, according to a recent report by cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes.

The research shows that a sharp decline has been noted, due in part, says the company, to the current slump in the value of cryptocurrencies making the activity far less attractive.

The report shows that in March 2018, the number of detected illegal crypto-mining software on the public’s desktop computers was around 5 million, although there were possibly more undetected. The new figures have seen these dropping significantly to around 1.5 million in June of this year.

Further, the figures also show that in January of this year Malawarebytes located 100,000 coin miners, this time on business computers, but again June figures show that these numbers had dropped by two thirds.

It’s reported that significant profits can only be made through this type of hacking if hackers can manage to infect a huge number of computers, as Malwarebytes security researcher, Jerome Segura points out:

“Simply compromising a few hundred sites with a web miner alone is not going to yield very much, since those hacked sites typically have low traffic.”

Bitcoin itself presents a challenge for cyber crooks as Bitcoin doesn’t afford the level of anonymity that hackers thrive on and mining the currency requires substantial hardware. These factors linked with Bitcoin’s recent declining price are beginning to impact on the success of criminal activity such as cryptojacking.

However, it is not all good news, as cybersecurity giant McAfee has released its own statistics which paints quite a different picture, suggesting that cryptojacking has increased by a huge 629% compared to 2017. It suggests that there are five new coin miners being discovered every second at the beginning of the year.

It is worth noting that this time period doesn’t correlate with Malwarebytes’s figures which have a much more recent time frame, including the period when Bitcoin had dropped significantly in value. Steve Grobman, CTO at McAfee confirms that the value of Bitcoin is a significant driver of cyber crime of this kind arguing:

“With the rise in the value of cryptocurrencies, the market forces are driving criminals to crypto-jacking and the theft of cryptocurrency. Cybercrime is a business, and market forces will continue to shape where adversaries focus their efforts.”

 

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