WatchGuard released its latest internet threat report for Q1 2018, which suggested that cryptocurrency mining threats are on the rise. About 98.8% of common Linux/Downloader malware variants found in the first quarter were to target Linux-based computers with crypto miners. Linux systems have been considered less vulnerable to crypto mining threats over the years, but that landscape is apparently changing.

Crypto Mining Malware on the Rise

WatchGuard Technologies suggested that crypto mining malware did not make it to their top 10 list of internet threats. However, it mentioned that designing crypto-mining malware is a prime tactic among cybercriminals to dupe unsuspecting users. The report was created after analyzing data from nearly 40,000 active Unified Threat Management (UTM) appliances globally.

These appliances collectively blocked 23 million malware variants during the first quarter of the year and 10 million network attacks. Each device handled avoided 628 malware variants and 278 network attacks on an average.

The report further detailed the mechanisms adopted by crypto-miners to attack a computer and use its processing power to mine digital currencies. It also talked about various security threats that target small and medium-sized businesses and distributed enterprises.

Chief Technology Officer Corey Nachreiner said:

“Our Threat Lab team has uncovered multiple indicators that suggest malicious crypto-miners are becoming a mainstay in cybercriminals’ arsenals and will continue to grow more dominant.”

He added:

“While ransomware and other advanced threats are still a major concern, these new crypto-miner attacks illustrate that bad actors are constantly adjusting their tactics to find new ways to take advantage of their victims.”

Malware Threats Increase in 2018

Nachreiner suggested that 46 percent of all malware was able to evade the basic signature-based antivirus systems. Criminals could be using obfuscation to beat tradition antivirus technology.

He said:

“One way that every organization can become more secure against these sophisticated, evasive threats is to deploy defenses enabled with advanced malware prevention.”

According to the report, this is the first time that the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region has accounted for a higher malware volume that the rest of the world. Ninety-eight percent of these malware attacks were targeted at India and Singapore, with the majority focused on Windows-based systems.

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