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Cryptojacking and malware-as-a-service get popular, ransomware attacks observe a dip

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  • A trend report by CheckPoint Research indicates that attackers have increasingly moved to cryptojacking, while malware-as-a-service has also gained popularity among attackers in 2018.
  • The report also highlighted that the trend of large scale ransomware attacks was declining.

A new report titled ‘Malware-as-a-Service Empowers Cyber Attackers’ featured popular methods employed by threat actors in 2018. Security firm CheckPoint published this new report covering the latest trends in cybersecurity.

As per the trends, it appears that attackers are trying their best to keep a low profile by letting go of large-scale ransomware attacks and focusing on tougher attack vectors. Moreover, attackers are increasingly engaging with cryptocurrency-related entities such as cryptocurrency wallets and trading exchanges.

Cryptojacking up, Ransomware down

The report listed the new malware families designed to exploit infected devices for cryptocurrency mining. “The most prominent cryptomining malware dominating the Global Top Cryptominers Malware list are Coinhive, CryptoLoot, and JSEcoin. These malware strains have also kept their place at the top of the list since 2017,” stated the report.

One of the reasons cryptojacking became popular is its ability to stay undetected for longer periods of time. Although there are tools to prevent this attack method, attackers have relied on cryptojacking due to large profits associated with them.

This is also the reason why a dip was observed in large scale ransomware attacks as they became less effective in generating revenue for the attackers.

Malware-as-a-Service (MaaS) on the rise

The report also covered the interesting rise of malware-as-a-service (MaaS) business. Internet black markets have seen a spike in MaaS where malware resources and code are sold/traded.

“The different Malware-as-a-Services available include the infamous AZORult, File-Locker and Kraken ransomware that made headlines over the past year. The authors of GandCrab ransomware even offer technical support and tutorial videos for their product,” delineated the report.

CheckPoint also emphasized that MaaS enables any computer rookie to conduct cyber attacks, leading to the possibility of organizations getting targeted more than ever.

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