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Cryptojacking Cases Increase Almost 400% In a Year

2 mins
Updated by Geraint Price
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In Brief

  • SonicWall reports a rise in cryptojacking incidents to 332 million from 67 million, targeting cloud and macOS equipment.
  • The US and Europe saw significant increases in cryptojacking incidents, with a 340% and 788% rise respectively.
  • Cryptojacking enables hackers limited by mining bans and sanctions to sustain revenue streams covertly.
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A new report from SonicWall found that cryptojacking incidents increased to 332 million compared to 67 million a year ago, targeting cloud and macOS devices.

About a quarter of the exploits occurred in January, February, April, and May of this year, and were led by North America and Europe.

Cryptojacking Threatens Cloud Equipment

While North America recorded the highest volumes, Europe saw the most dramatic increases in hacks.

Incidents in the US totaled 215 million, a 340% increase from a year ago, while exploits in Europe rose a staggering 788% to 88.3 million hits. The UK alone recorded a 479% spike, with incidents rising to 6.8 million from 1.2 million a year ago.

Cryptojacking refers to remotely hacking servers, mobile phones, and other information technology infrastructure to mine cryptocurrencies.

Instead of focusing only on hardware endpoints like smartphones, criminals attacked cloud services and cracked macOS applications seeded with HonkBox cryptojacking malware. Oracle’s WebLogic servers are the target of a new crypter, software that can encrypt malicious software.

Cryptojacking increase in 2023 driven by cloud and macOS device attacks in the education and healthcare systems.
Cryptojacking breakdown by Industry | Source: SonicWall

The education sector recorded the biggest jump in incidents, up more than 320 times. Meanwhile, finance customers saw a 4.7x increase compared with a year ago.

Sanctioned Countries Likely Spearheading Attacks

Rather than waiting for one-time ransomware payments, hackers can invade other devices to sustain revenue streams covertly.

Mining bans in regions like Kuwait and China and countries facing heavy sanctions, such as Russia and North Korea, can encourage remote mining. North Korean hackers in particular have outsmarted seemingly-robust Western infrastructure to extort cryptocurrencies.

Read here how to earn Bitcoin through mining.

According to SonicWall, the 399% increase in cryptojacking has seen nation-states and threat actors amass greater volumes of Bitcoin. States cut-off from global financial rails can use these funds for controversial government programs like nuclear testing.

Got something to say about the dramatic increase in cryptojacking in 2023 or anything else? Write to us or join the discussion on our Telegram channel. You can also catch us on TikTokFacebook, or Twitter.

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David Thomas
David Thomas graduated from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, with an Honors degree in electronic engineering. He worked as an engineer for eight years, developing software for industrial processes at South African automation specialist Autotronix (Pty) Ltd., mining control systems for AngloGold Ashanti, and consumer products at Inhep Digital Security, a domestic security company wholly owned by Swedish conglomerate Assa Abloy. He has experience writing software in C,...