A research paper on cryptocurrency mining malware finds monero to be the most popular cryptocurrency among cyber-criminals and estimates over 4.32 per cent of all monero in circulation has been mined illegally, slightly less than previously expected.
This “largest systematic study of malicious binary-based crypto-mining” was carried out by Sergio Pastrana and Guillermo Suarez-Tangil, researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and King’s College London. It analysed “approximately 4.4 million malware samples (1 million malicious miners), over a period of twelve years from 2007 to 2018.”
According to the gathered data, Pastrana and Suarez-Tangil conclude: “Using cryptomining malware, criminals have mined (at least) 4.3% of the moneros in circulation, earning up to 56 million USD. One of the main reasons of the success of this criminal business is its relatively low cost and high return of investment.”
Amongst the researchers’ most crucial findings is that illicit campaigns using third-party infrastructure are more successful and that they use simple mechanisms, such as domain aliases, to escape detection. However, the researchers claim reporting illicit wallets is not a sufficient countermeasure and state “malicious crypto-mining is a growing and complex threat that requires effective countermeasures and intervention approaches.”