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Cybersecurity Firm Symantec Says Browser-Based Cryptojacking Is Back With 163% Increase

Symantec, the cybersecurity firm, has said that there was a 163% increase in browser-based cryptojacking activity in the second quarter of 2020.

It has been reported that cryptojacking had previously been in a steep decline from March 2019 due to the shutdown of the mining script maker, CoinHive.

However, Symantec points out the increase in the last quarter coincided with a surge in the value of Bitcoin (BTC) and Monero (XMR), two cryptocurrencies often mined by the threat actors that rely on browser-based cryptojacking malware.

The report said that cryptojacking saw a high activity period from September 2017 to March 2019, becoming one of the most prevalent forms of cyber-attacks at that time. But in 2019, the CoinHive project reportedly became economically inviable.

Symantec has warned about a resurgence of browser-based cryptojacking after a long period of inactivity, reports @conexiondigicol — Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) August 26, 2020

As per the report, the mining service stopped its operations on March 8, 2019. Among the reasons behind the closure, the developers noted a 50 percent drop in hash rate following the last Monero hard fork.

Josh Lemos, the Vice President of Research and Intelligence at BlackBerry, said that crypto miners don’t need to be sophisticated and can be delivered in various ways.

He added:

“From JavaScript running on a website as a watering hole attack or embedded in a spear-phishing email to supply chain attacks with miners embedded in docker hub images and malicious browser extensions.”

Thus, in a recent report ZDNet suggested that the current increase in attacks was unlikely to be sustained:

“Most cybercrime groups who experimented with cryptojacking operations in the past usually dropped it weeks later, as they also discovered that browser-based cryptocurrency-mining was both a waste of their time and too noisy, drawing more attention to their respective operations than profits.”

Source: Cointelegraph | Image: The Diplomat



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