Cryptominers Hit 10x More Organizations than Ransomware in 2018

Only 1 in 5 IT pros are aware of infections, shows Check Point’s 2019 security report

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Check Point Software Technologies Ltd has published the second instalment of its 2019 Security Report.  

It highlights how the tools and services used to commit cyber-crime have become democratized, with advanced attack methods now available to anyone willing to pay for them, as part of the growing ‘malware-as-a-service’ industry.

The second instalment of the 2019 Security Report reveals the key cyber-attack trends observed by Check Point researchers during 2018, and shows the significant growth in stealthy, complex attacks designed to stay below the radar of enterprise security teams. It also shows the types of cyberattacks, which enterprise IT and security teams rate as the biggest threats to their organizations. Highlights include:

Cryptominers digging undetected on networks:  Cryptominers infected 10x more organizations than ransomware in 2018, but only one in five IT security professionals were aware their company’s networks had been infected by mining malware. 37 percent of organizations globally were hit by cryptominers in 2018, and 20 percent of companies continue to be hit every week, despite an 80 percent fall in cryptocurrency values.

Threat risk of cryptominers underrated by organizations: When asked what they rated as the biggest threats to their organization, just 16 percent stated cryptomining, compared with DDoS attacks (34 percent), data breaches (53 percent), ransomware (54 percent) and phishing (66 percent). This is concerning, as cryptominers can easily act as stealth backdoors to download and launch other types of malware.

Malware-as-a-service rises: The GandCrab Ransomware-as-a-Service affiliate program shows how amateurs can now profit from the ransomware extortion business as well. Users keep up to 60 percent of the ransoms collected from victims, and its developers keep up to 40 percent. GandCrab has over 80 active affiliates, and within two months in 2018 had infected over 50,000 victims and claimed between $300,000 and $600,000 in ransoms.

“The second instalment of our 2019 Security Report shows how cyber-criminals are successfully exploring stealthy new approaches and business models, such as malware affiliate programs, to maximize their illegal revenues while reducing their risk of detection. But, out-of-sight shouldn’t mean out-of-mind:  even though cyberattacks during 2018 have been lower-profile, they are still damaging and dangerous,” said Peter Alexander, CMO of Check Point Software Technologies.  

“By reviewing and highlighting these developments in the Report, organizations can get a better understanding of the threats they face, and how they prevent them impacting on their business.”

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