A new report from Santa Clara-based network and enterprise security company Palo Alto Networks has discovered that roughly 5% of all Monero in circulation was mined maliciously through cryptojacking.
Cryptojacking is when cyber criminals gain backdoor access to computer resources or programs through various exploits with the goal of hijacking those computer resources to mine for cryptocurrencies – primarily Monero – without the knowledge or permission of the computer’s owner. Instances of cryptojacking have wildly proliferated in 2018, and are most commonly associated with Monero, as its anonymous design can help hide the tracks of hackers.
Out of nearly 470,000 sample data points collected by Threat Intelligence Analyst for Palo Alto Networks, Josh Grunzweig and his research team, reported that they discovered 3,773 emails connected with mining pools, 2,995 mining pool URLs, and 3,531 cryptocurrency wallets – of which 2,341 wallets are related to Monero.
Grunzweig says Monero has monopolized malware-related cryptocurrency mining, with 5% of all Monero having been mined maliciously, totaling over $175 million in XMR mined through malware. He also believes the calculation is low, due to the lack of web-based Monero mining and other mining examples that are yet to be discovered being included.
Grunzweig and his team say that about 2% of Monero’s global hashing power is attributed Monero-related cryptojacking.
Cryptojacking has become a widespread issue this year, with major corporations seeing intrusions related to Monero mining. Mining for Monero is not all bad, though. Even UNICEF has begun asking donors for computer resources to mine Monero – but rather than mine the privacy focused crypto for financial gain, the funds will go toward providing small children and mothers with food and supplies in third-world countries.