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Cryptojacking takes over from ransomware as cybercriminal's choice

(Image credit: Image Credit: Make-Someones-Day / Pixabay)

Ransomware may be finally losing its popularity among cybercriminals, who instead are increasingly turning to cryptojacking, research has claimed. 

Security experts from Symantec have released a new report (opens in new tab), entitled Internet Security Threat Report Volume 23, in which they claim cryptojacking is now trendy among cybercriminals.

Cryptojacking is a practice in which hackers gain access to a vulnerable machine and exploit its computational power to mine cryptocurrency for themselves. So, a victim might end up “fighting for resources on their phone”, computer or IoT device, says Kevin Haley, director of Symantec Security Response.

Cryptojacking can do more than just slow a machine down – it can overheat batteries and even render devices unusable. Another reason why it is increasingly gaining popularity is the fact that you only need “a few lines of code” to operate.

Besides personal devices, such as smartphones or laptops, enterprise networks are also a tempting target for hackers. When it comes to the amount of machines mining cryptocurrency for someone – the more, the merrier.

The report says coin miners can “put corporate networks at risk of shutdown and inflate cloud CPU usage, adding cost.”

Ransomware, on the other hand, is losing popularity for a number of different reasons. The report claims one of the reasons is an overcrowded, overpriced space.

The report itself is built on the data gathered from the Symantec Global Intelligence Network, pulling data from 700,000 adversaries and 126.5 million attack sensors worldwide.

Image Credit: Make-Someones-Day / Pixabay

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.