Good News: Crypto-Mining Attacks Decline Across Africa

In 2022, Kaspersky Solutions detected 40,788 new modifications of miners. According to Kaspersky Security Network data, in the African region, the number of home users affected by crypto miners in Q2 of 2022 decreased slightly compared to the previous quarter. However, the possibility of a surge in crypto mining attacks persists and could be directly correlated to cryptocurrency exchange rates.

What is Crypto-Mining?

Crypto mining is a process during which users mining cryptocurrencies utilise computers, data, codes, and calculations to validate cryptocurrency transactions and earn cryptocurrency as compensation for their work.

Crypto mining is highly resource-consuming and hence expensive to do, which is why cybercriminals seek access to others’ machines to conduct mining on them.

Attackers can use compromised devices to generate cryptocurrency without the device owners’ knowledge. They can steal resources, for example, by sending endpoint users a legitimate-looking email that encourages them to click on a link which runs a code that places a crypto mining script or program on the victim’s computer.

Another method is to inject a script on a website or an ad that is delivered to multiple websites. Once victims visit the website or the infected ad pops up in their browsers, the script automatically executes. No code is stored on the victims’ computers.

Notable Attacks

In 2019, eight separate apps that secretly mined cryptocurrency with the resources of whoever downloaded them were removed from the Microsoft Store. In 2018, a crypto-jacking code was discovered within the Los Angeles Times’ Homicide Report page. Also in 2018 the CoinHive miner was found to be running on YouTube Ads through Google’s DoubleClick platform.

In the African regions there was a downward trend in crypto mining attacks, however, in South Africa the dynamics were multidirectional. The number of attempts by attackers to run crypto miners on home users’ machines decreased by 11% in Q2 2022 compared to Q1, yet, the number of home computers that were affected by crypto-mining software increased by 2% over the same time period.

In Nigeria, the number of attempts to run crypto miners on home computers decreased by 16% in Q2 2022 compared to Q1, and the number of computers affected by crypto miners decreased by 10%. In Kenya, there was a milder decrease: 3% for attempts to run crypto miners on home machines and 6% for the affected computers.

“Before, crypto mining attacks were primarily an issue for endpoints, targeting desktops and laptops, sometimes – Android smartphones. Today, crypto-jacking is expanding to include servers, network, and even IoT devices. Servers are usually higher powered than ordinary PCs and allow for greater mining capacity,” comments David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky.

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