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CRIME TRENDS: Cryptojacking Soars While Ransomware Declines

Cybercriminals are capitalising on cryptocurrencies through a sharp rise in cryptojacking attacks, even as traditional ransomware incidents decline.

A new report by cybersecurity firm SonicWall reveals a staggering 399% increase in cryptojacking attacks during the first half of 2023 compared to the whole of last year.

In fact, the number of attacks recorded in this period exceeds the combined figures of 2020, 2021, and 2022.

While ransomware attacks may be declining, the rise of cryptojacking indicates that cybercriminals are still exploiting cryptocurrencies to target unsuspecting victims.

Cryptojacking involves maliciously exploiting servers and devices of others to mine digital assets, with the popular choice being the privacy-centric cryptocurrency, Monero.

Victims might not even be aware that their machines are being used for illicit mining, only noticing a slowdown in performance.

Contrary to expectations, declining Bitcoin prices have not deterred malicious actors from engaging in criminal activities.

SonicWall's research shows that market downturns have instead triggered a surge in attacks as criminals seek to maintain their profits.

The statistics indicate a shift in cybercriminal tactics to seek less expensive and less risky ways of making money.

The US, Denmark, Germany, France, and the United Arab Emirates have been the most affected by cryptojacking, with Europe experiencing a significant 788% rise in incidents.

Despite the decline in ransomware attacks, the alarming rise of cryptojacking proves that cybercriminals with an appetite for cryptocurrencies remain a persistent threat.

These cybercriminals continuously evolve their methods to evade capture. Lately, one common tactic has been distributing HonkBox cryptojacking malware through cracked versions of the popular video editing software, Final Cut Pro.

While cryptojacking may appear less severe than encrypting a company's files for ransom, the attackers still lack scruples.

The healthcare industry has witnessed a shocking 69-fold increase in attacks in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period last year, while the education sector experienced a staggering 320-fold increase.

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