Comodo: Ransomware Declines, But Cryptomining Takes Off


By Frank J. Ohlhorst

Cryptomining has surged to the top of detected malware incidents, displacing ransomware, according to a new study.

Comodo Cybersecurity’s new report is one of the first offered that fully analyzes data from the first quarter of the year. The company’s threat analysis shows a very different picture from 2017, indicating that MSPs might have to take on a new track to combat evolving threats.

The report reveals that protections against ransomware are beginning to work and cybercriminals are seeking other ways to profit from nefarious activities. MSPs looking to combat evolving threats will need to heed the shift in the attack vectors now becoming prevalent.

Comodo's Kenneth Geers

Comodo’s Kenneth Geers

“Malware, like cyberspace itself, is merely a reflection of traditional, real-world human affairs, and malware is always written for a purpose, whether it’s crime, espionage, terrorism or war,” said Kenneth Geers, chief research scientist at Comodo Cybersecurity. “Criminals’ proclivities to steal money more efficiently were evident with the surge in cryptomining. And the continued strong correlation of attack volume with current geopolitical events shows hackers of all motivations are well aware of the opportunities major breaking news provides them.”

Cryptominer attacks, which use malware to hijack users’ computers to mine cryptocurrencies, are becoming prevalent and have remained off most MSPs’ radar, since the malware is hidden, and for the most part, undetectable by PC’s operator. Therein lies the real danger: Cryptominer attacks secretly steal CPU cycles, while also co-opting the infected PC into a criminal enterprise.

By eliminating cryptominer malware, MSPs can better protect their customers and restore lost performance, while also demonstrating that they have to ability to fully protect a customers assets from evolving attacks.

During the first quarter of 2018, Comodo Cybersecurity detected nearly 29 million cryptominer incidents out of a total of 300 million malware incidents, amounting to a 10 percent share. The number of unique cryptominer variants grew from 93,750 in January to 127,000 in March. At the same time, the data shows this criminal attention came at the expense of ransomware activity, with new variants falling from 124,320 in January to 71,540 in March, a 42 percent decrease.

Other highlights of the Comodo Cybersecurity report for the last quarter include:

(list on next page)

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