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Friday, 19 October 2018 05:20

Cryptomining on the rise in Aust, NZ, claims Malwarebytes

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Cryptomining on the rise in Aust, NZ, claims Malwarebytes Pixabay

The fall in the value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has led to a fall in the planting of cryptomining scripts by Windows malware in the third quarter of this year generally, but not in Australia and New Zealand.

Banking trojans saw a resurgence overall, according to statistics released by the anti-malware software maker Malwarebytes.

Incidences of cryptomining among Malwarebytes' customers fell by about 26% compared to the second quarter; the company says its customers are in the millions but did not provide an exact number.

The report found that ransomware, though again rather quiet compared to the spikes of 2017, showed some new developments with the emergence of refinements to the GandCrab strain.

Most ransomware infections were directed at businesses, with an 88% increase in detections. But for ordinary users, the number of infections fell, though no percentage was specified.

malwarebytes one

Remote access trojans and adware were present in increasing numbers, with delivery mechanisms being spam or social engineering. Malwarebytes said adware fell 19% for average users, but there was a 15% increase for businesses.

Exploit kits were used with abandon during the quarter, with one campaign expanding from South Korea into Japan. Two new exploits, Underminer and Fallout, kept the genre active and will probably continue being active in future.

Malwarebytes said it also observed the use of stale personally identifiable information in attacks, with the PII being taken from one of the numerous data breaches in the past.

malwarebytes two gandcrab

The ransom note left by Gandcrab on Windows systems.

Key findings for Australia and New Zealand:

  • Australian cases of cryptomining increased by 36.37% to 194,282 cases in Q3.
  • New Zealand also experienced a significant increase in the number of reported cryptomining cases, skyrocketing by 644.50% on Q2 results to reach 79,851 cases in Q3.
  • Australian backdoor detections have dramatically decreased by 94.2% from 141,046 in Q2 to 8,191 in Q3. In contrast, New Zealand backdoor detections have increased by 116.23% in Q3, reaching 2504 detections compared to 1158 in Q2.
  • Adware cases reportedly increased in Australia by 89.86%, with detections growing from 311,401 cases in Q2 to 591,237 in Q3. By comparison, New Zealand has experienced 24.71% decrease, going from 52,091 cases in Q2 to 39,218 cases in Q3.
  • While Australia saw a decrease of 29.31% in Anomalous (machine learning) detections in Q3, New Zealand cases grew by 208.80% from 3,557 in Q2 to 7896.
  • Virus detections in Australia increased by 3832.13% from 501 cases in Q2 to 19,700 in Q3.
  • Similarly, Spyware incidents grew by 231% from 4818 cases in Q2 to 15,948 in Q3.
  • Aside from cryptomining incidents, in New Zealand worm detections had the biggest increase from Q2, with 2,621 cases increasing by 238.08% to 8861.

Graphics: courtesy Malwarebytes

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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