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Cryptojacking shows no signs of slowing down in 2019: report

Cryptojacking shows no signs of slowing down in 2019: report article image

Cases of cryptocurrency mining and cryptojacking will continue to grow in 2019, as attackers target smart devices and home assistants to build cryptomining farms, according to ESET, an IT security software specialist. 

In its latest trends report, Cybersecurity Trends 2019: Privacy and Intrusion in the Global Village, ESET’s global cybersecurity experts reveal the trends set to impact businesses in 2019.

Cryptomining continues to rise

Cryptocurrency mining beat ransomware in terms of media attention in the past year and cryptojacking – the process by which a device is hi-jacked illegitimately – "shows no signs of slowing down," according to ESET Senior Security Researcher David Harley.

Commenting on this trend, Harley said: "We can also expect to see more coin-mining software attempting to remove competing coinminers on compromised systems in order to get a higher-calorie slice of the processing pie."

An increase in the adoption of cryptocurrencies, as well as a rise in the number of devices connected to the internet, could also mean that smart devices and homes assistants become the entry point for attackers to build cryptomining farms in 2019. Cyberattacks specifically designed to attack IoT devices, such as automated scripts that exploit vulnerabilities in connected devices or processes that are designed to take control of them, will become more frequent.

Data privacy will make or break companies

Issues around data privacy and protection came sharply into focus this year following a number of high-profile cyberattacks, data leaks and privacy missteps, as well as the implementation of GDPR.

In light of incidents such as Cambridge Analytica, we are likely to see people searching for alternatives to the platforms such as Facebook that currently dominate, say ESET Senior Security Researchers Stephen Cobb and Lysa Myers.

Given the importance of customer data to companies, individuals, and to cybercriminals, ESET argues that the ability to properly manage data privacy could decide which companies stay in business in 2019.

Attackers use automation to advance social engineering campaigns

ESET asserts that 2019 will see an increase in cybercriminals' use of automation in attempts to collect more data so that they can launch more personalised and sophisticated social engineering campaigns.

Lysa Myers, ESET Senior Security Researcher, writes: "While some phishing and other fraud attacks have certainly improved their ability to mimic legitimate sources, many are still painfully obvious fakes. Machine learning could help increase effectiveness in this area."

A move towards a global privacy law?

Following the implementation of GDPR, ESET questions whether the EU legislation is the first step towards a global privacy law, particularly as similar models start to appear in California, Brazil, and Japan. Considering this, ESET warns against dismissing privacy rights and data protection as an EU anomaly. The pressure to protect customers’ data and ensure the privacy of sensitive information is a global issue and will certainly encourage a move towards GDPR-style privacy around the world.

For more on the trends set to impact the industry in 2019, read ESET’s Cybersecurity Trends 2019: The Cost of our Connected World. 

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