RSA: Cryptocurrency retaining value will determine this malware's success

News by Doug Olenick

Cryptomining is certainly one of the buzzwords flying around at RSA 2018, but with the currency's long-term viability directly tied to its value at least one cyber-security exec thinks this criminal activity's time could be limited.

Cryptomining is certainly one of the buzzwords flying around the exhibition halls and meeting rooms at RSA 2018, but with the currency's long-term viability directly tied to its value at least one cyber-security exec thinks this criminal activity's time could be limited.

Adam Kujawa, Malwarebytes director of malware intelligence, said it's hard to tell if cryptocurrency mining will remain a threat as it is only worth mining right now due to the various currencies high value. Kujawa noted that after Bitcoin's value plummeted from a high of over US$ 19,000 (£13,383) to below US$ 10,000 (£7,042) the amount of mining activity dropped.

Kujawa believes if the price drops too far it will scare off the smaller players, those who just by some mining malware on the Dark Web, but have no real investment.

“Our thought is those involved who have put in their investment and will stick around,” he told SC Media at RSA 2018, “More than likely when Bitcoin falls below US$ 500 (£352) the miners will go away.

If this were to take place it would also remove some of the associated scams, such as currency coin support scams. These are malicious websites that say they will help a person gain access to their currency wallet, but in fact, ask for the individual's wallet log in credentials and then go in and steal the money.

But before that possibly happens Malwarebytes expects to see some changes to cryptomining malware, such as giving it rootkit functionality or making it less obtrusive to the victim.

“If I were a bad guy I would develop a miner that does not use a great deal of CPU power but just a small fraction,” he said, noting that it's the battery drain, overworked CPU and heat that are the most obvious giveaways that a device is infected.

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