Recent research by Sergio Pastrana and Guillermo Suarez-Tangil, from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and King’s College London, respectively revealed that malicious persons had earned 4.3 percent of the total volume of money in circulation. This Makes the digital currency the crypto with the highest rate of illegal mining.
Monero Tops The List of illegally Mined Crypto
The report of Pastrana and Suarez-Tangil noted that in Overall, they estimate there are at least 2,218 active campaigns of money malware that have accumulated about 720K XMR (57M USD). Notably, a single campaign has mined more than 163K XMR (18M USD), which accounts for about 23% of the total estimated. This campaign was still active at the time of compiling the report of their research. It is estimated that the 4.3 percent of Monero Mined which is in the worth of 56 million USD, however, the percentage of withdrawal or earned is not known due to the data available.
According to the report, the method used for analysis is static and dynamic analysis techniques coupled with OSINT data used to properly extract information from the malware samples such as mining pools and wallet identifiers.
About 4.4 million malware samples were analyzed over 12 years from 2007 to 2018, and 1 million malicious miners were identified according to the paper. The tactics adopted for distributing the malware various, however, one of the most effective ones include the use of use legitimate infrastructure such as Dropbox or GitHub to host the droppers, and stock mining tools such as claymore and xmrig to do the actual mining.
After Monero, the cryptocurrency with the highest rate of illegal mining after Monero is Bitcoin and followed by Zcash though Bitcoin mining is no longer prominent because of the present difficulty and investment needed for its mining.
The increase of Crypto Malware Attack
A report of McAfee last year indicated that crypto malware attack had increased drastically in the crypto space. The report noted that it increased by 4,000 percent in 2018.
Also, a report of Israel-based cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies recently noted that a Monero mining malware, known as KingMiner is evolving to avoid detection.
The choice of crypto mining malware has become prominent because of the high profit made in the procedure. The malicious act usually cost the actors less investment as the system of victims and their energy is used, which give them high yield.