Microsoft Korea: Country Faces Growing Threat From Stealth Crypto Mining Attacks

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Microsoft Korea has claimed the country is facing an increase in cryptojacking incidents, according to a report from local English-language daily The Korea Times, published on April 22.

The findings were announced by Microsoft security program manager Kim Gwi-ryun during a press conference in Seoul today, which accompanied the release of the annual Microsoft Security Intelligence Report.

As previously reported, cryptojacking is the practice of using a computer’s processing power to mine for cryptocurrencies without the owner’s consent or knowledge.

According to The Korea Times, South Korea’s cryptocurrency mining incident rate in 2018 was 0.05% —  reportedly 58% lower than the world average.

Nonetheless, Kim Gwi-ryun isolated the malicious practice from among other cybersecurity attack vectors detected in the country — such as supply chain malware and phishing attempts. The representative noted that Microsoft has detected market correlations in the fluctuating prevalence of cryptojacking, stating that:

«We have noticed that as the value of cryptocurrency rises and falls, so does the mining encounter rate.»

As the report notes, stealth cryptojacking is difficult to detect and largely manifests itself in compromised system performance due to the intensive drain on processing power that crypto mining presents.

As Cointelegraph has reported, cryptojacking was cited in a recent criminal conviction of two Romanian alleged cybercriminals, who had been tracked in a joint investigation by the United States Federal Investigation Bureau and the Romanian National Police.

A March 2019 report from AT&T Cybersecurity revealed that cryptojacking was one of the most prevalent objectives of hackers targeting businesses’ cloud infrastructures, despite the crypto bear market.

That same month, reports surfaced of a new strain of Trojan malware for Android phones. The malware reportedly targets worldwide users of top crypto apps such as Coinbase, BitPay and Bitcoin Wallet, as well as banks including JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Bank of America.