Even if the number of cryptomining attempts monitored was reduced to almost 9 million in 2020 from over 13 million detections in 2019, cybersecurity solutions company Kaspersky still advises small businesses (SMB) to continue with their strong security infrastructure.
Kaspersky attributes the decline of the value of cryptocurrencies over the past three years. It was only recently that it again gained ground, albeit unsteady. The decrease in attacks is observed around the world and not only in Southeast Asia.
In its 2020 SMB Report, Kaspersky said that in Southeast Asia, cryptomining is the highest (8,926,117) in terms of attempted attacks that it was able to block in 2020. Detected phishing attempts were at 2,890,825 while ransomware attempts were at 804,513 last year.
Most of the detected cryptomining attempts were observed in Indonesia and Vietnam for two consecutive years, accounting for almost 71% in 2020 and 80% in 2019 of all attempted incidents in SEA.
According to Kaspersky, cybercriminals use cryptocurrency malware to harness the processing power of devices they were able to hack into to mine for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, “the prices of which have been skyrocketing.”
IT back end
“So if you are a business owner and your staff are working remotely because of the pandemic yet you find your office power bill unusually high, check your IT backend. There may be cryptominers using your business resources, at your expense,” Kaspersky said.
“SMBs normally have a relaxed attitude toward information security and so the main damage from cryptomining is expected to be felt by this sector,” said Yeo Siang Tiong, GM for Southeast Asia, Kaspersky. “Cryptocurrencies continue to attract investor and user attention due to the continued spike in its prices so we really caution SMBs not to underestimate the possibility that cryptomining will remain to be a serious cyberthreat. After all, cybercriminals have long realized that infecting servers is more profitable than mining on home users’ computers so SMBs should take this silent threat seriously.”
What makes cryptoming more alamaring as opposed to ransomware attacks is the fact that cryptominers has the ability to remain undetected for a long period. Ransomware, when detected, can be dealt with immediately, Kaspersky said.
The company said that some of the tell-tale signs that personal devices are being used illegally by cryptominers include system response slowing down due to the workload strain, increased power consumption that results in batteries depleting at a faster pace or electricity bills skyrocketing, and more significant data usage.
If businesses suspect their systems being accessed by cryptominers, Kaspersky has a few tips to ensure the safety of their assets and devices:
- Keep operating systems and software fresh and regularly updated.
- Avoid clicking email links and attachments from unverified and untrusted sources.
- Practice caution when installing software from the web since cryptominers are known to embed malware in them.
- Take advantage of a strong security solution that businesses with limited cybersecurity expertise and resources could use like Kaspersky Endpoint Detection and Response Optimum (KEDRO). KEDRO is actually an efficient way for SMEs to reduce costs while saving on protection as it complements protection for endpoints such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops connected to the company network.
- Carry out regular security audits of your corporate network. And you should not forget about less-obvious targets, such as queue management systems, POS terminals, and vending machines. Once infected, an army of those devices can bring much profit to criminals.