Microsoft Korea: Crypto Mining Attacks Are on the Rise

According to a new Microsoft Security Intelligence Report by the company’s South Korean arm, cyberattacks have been increasing steadily in Korea and other countries around the world. Apart from phishing attacks, supply chain attacks and cryptocurrency mining malware have become the most common cyberattacks that the majority of the users are facing today.

South Korea has relatively low cyberattack threats compared to other parts of the world. However, Microsoft Korea is urging individuals and organizations to keep up to date their operating systems as well as security software. They have also encouraged both private individuals and organizations to back up their data on cloud platforms.

On Monday, the tech giant published its annual Microsoft Security Intelligence Report at a media conference at the company’s headquarters in Seoul where Kim Gwi-ryun, Microsoft Korea’s security program manager, spoke about supply chain attacks and cryptojacking (malware that employs the user’s CPU for crypto mining).

“We analyzed over 6.5 trillion security signals a day in 2018 to publish the threat intelligence report and share expert insights with clients,” said Kim Gwi-ryun. She said that software supply chain attacks have been increasing in the last few years and now have become a major threat. Regarding software supply chain attacks, she gave the example of the popular system cleanup software CCleaner which was targeted by such malware in September 2017 and left 2.3 million computers infected.

The firm has also revealed how the cybercriminals are injecting crypto mining malware into the individual’s and organization’s computer. This malware helps the criminals to utilize the computer’s power for mining cryptocurrencies and earning revenue illegally without the user’s knowledge and consent.

“We have noticed that as the value of cryptocurrency rises and falls, so does the mining encounter rate,” she said. In addition to that, Korea’s cryptocurrency mining encounter rate had undergone significantly to 0.05% in 2018 which is 58% lower than that of the world average.

Identifying mining malware is extremely hard as there are no such clear symptoms that help users to recognize it. Slowing down in system performance is the only way one can detect the signs of a mining bot. Talking about phishing attacks, the company said that it is still a broad category of cyber threats witnessing 250 percent increase in 2018.

Lastly, Microsoft Korea urged users to use the cloud platforms to back up their data automatically and the newest anti-virus systems and licensed software.

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