Nearly $57 mn XMR lost to illicit Monero mining: research
A new research report suggests that Monero [XMR] is the most favorite cryptocurrency among cybercriminals in underground economies such as Pay-Per-Install services. 4.32% of Monero has been lost to illegal crypto mining by the underground economies. The miners have made approximately $57 million from illicit Monero mining.
Two researchers, Sergio Pastrana from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Guillermo Suarez-Tangil from King’s College London, published their research last week. The research focussed on crypto mining malware. It tracked the increased interest among underground economies for crypto mining malware. The research found that most of these miners used simple mechanisms to avoid detection and used minimal and cost-effective infrastructure to mine Monero.
“Overall, we estimate there are at least 2,218 active campaigns that have accumulated about 720K XMR (57M USD). Interestingly just a single campaign (C#623) has mined more than 163K XMR (18M USD), which accounts for about 23% of the total estimated. This campaign is still active at the time of writing,” the researchers wrote.
The researchers analyzed a sample size of 4.4 million mining malware over a period of 12 years. They found 1 million malicious mining malware from the sample size. “We observe that crypto-mining malware can be easily purchased online, for a few dollars,” indicated the researchers. The researchers also added that there are advertisements circulated in the underground communities for the crypto mining malware. “This indicates that cybercrime commoditization is key to the wealth of illicit crypto-mining,” they said. “The increasing support offered to criminals explains the sharp growth on the amount of malware monetizing their victims,” the researchers added.
Bitcoin follows Monero as the second favorite for illegal crypto miners. Miners have also tried to cryptojack Litecoin and Dogecoin in 2013 and 2014 but soon were back to focus on Monero and Bitcoin. Researchers suggest that this might be because of the Monero and Bitcoin are more profitable to mine than other cryptocurrencies.
Cryptojacking of Monero is also done because the digital currency is privacy centered. There is no way to trace a transaction on its blockchain. The crypto mining malware attacks have risen over 4000% last year and Monero is at the center of most of the malware attacks. The rising illicit mining attempts on Monero has created a negative image for the coin in the crypto community.
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