McAfee Labs Warns You: Cryptojacking Is Skyrocketing in 2018

The antivirus company McAfee Labs has published its monthly report for the December of 2018. Amidst all the cyber dangers awaiting for Internet users, malicious crypto software stood up significantly. The phenomenon, known as cryptojacking (illegitimate usage of someone else’s devices to mine crypto), is spreading at a fast pace.

Mining cryptocurrency via malware is one of the big stories of 2018. Total “coin miner” malware has grown more than 4,000% in the past year,” is mentioned in the report.


New types of malware are invented almost on a daily basis, thus, antiviruses need to adapt to witty scammers and do it quickly to protect their customers. We remind you that Kaspersky Labs has also mentioned the increase in cryptojacking in its report:

Kaspersky Lab’s Report: Cryptojacking Crimes Have Increased By 400% in 2018

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Bitcoin Miners Are Fooling Around While Earning Tens of Millions of Dollars

According to the recent research made by Diar: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dash miners made more than $18 billion without any transaction.

Let us start with the two most famous cryptocurrency – Bitcoin and Ethereum. These two coins were the most popular proof-of-work blockchains, however, they processed the fewest amount of empty blocks, the report shows that Ethereum paid out $65 million in rewards for such blocks in 2017.

Bitcoin Cash, in his turn, has created more than 3300 empty blocks since the end of summer of 2017. It means that monthly about $5 million was gained across all networks. Moreover, Bitcoin Cash miners have earned more than $1 billion since its for on November 15, 2018.

Litecoin is a fast cryptocurrency, and due to its network underutilization, the coin has the most empty blocks. Litecoin miners are mostly hunting for lite blocks, thus its block time is considered to be about 2 minutes. Indeed, the time varies from the difficulty of mining, but in overall every 2 mins, the block is created.

The report suggests miners “fooling around”, because a lack of transactions rises up their reward by far less than gaining the block reward. Let us look on the example.

Block 1586699 which was processed on Tuesday has only transaction less than 1 LTC, nonetheless, the block paid out the mining reward of 25 LTC. It means that the miner has made over $1000 to process less than $50. There is another example, block 1586709, the miner has earned more than $1000 for processing $0 in transactions. Unfortunately, there is no such a thing in the fiat world.

We remind you

How to Get Bitcoin And How Profitable is Mining in 2019

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Bitmain Launches A New Chip For Miners While Jihan Wu Is Leaving His Post: What Is Real Here?

Bitmain is a Chinese-based mining giant which produces equipment for all types of mining activity. There have recently been rumours that Jihan Wu, the CEO of Bitmain, leaves the company to create its own a BCH-focused crypto mining firm while the company is launching a new updated product. So what is true here?

A new efficient crypto mining chip

According to the official press release, Bitmain launches the BM1397. This chip is supposed to be much more powerful than its predecessor, the efficiency difference accounts for 38%. This is a breakthrough in mining industry, the product uses just 30 joules per terrahash. It means that this chip replace the existing hashpower as 33 terrahash can be powered by just 1 kilowatt of power.

Source: blog.bitmain.com

In terms of terrahash capability, the model will be more powerful than existing ones, as a result, a user will have to pay more for electricity. A new generation of mining chips is already real.

Jihan Wu and rumours of his quitting

The person who started the rumours is Dovey Wan, founding partner of Primitive Ventures. She wrote in his Twitter that Jihan Wu will probably leave his position to build a new company which is a spin of Bitmain focusing on BCH.

https://twitter.com/DoveyWan/status/1100002158261428225

The company has not released any statements yet. Though we understand that Bitmain has been suffering a lot since the beginning of bearish market, not to mention U.S.-China trading war which has a great influence on the company. The company has also closed its two offices in Israel and the Netherlands.

We remind you

Is Bitmain Really Dying, or How Much Money Was Lost in 2018?

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CryptoMining.Farm Scam: 30 Victims Lost $1.34 Million

Thirty people have filed complaints to Thailand’s Technology Crime Suppression Division stating that they were victims of crypto mining scam, they allegedly lost 42 million baht ($1.34 million). The police thinks that the amount of victims can be bigger.

According to the victims’ words, the leaders of the scam convinced them to invest money into CryptoMining.Farm, a blockchain-mining website. One anonymous victim said to the Bangkok Post that one of the leaders promised investor an impossibly high return – 70% a year.

The victims signed contracts when they entered the website, the documents said that a customer may withdraw money at any time he/she wanted without any additional condition. However, the situation has changed since August. The victim stated that:

“From August the owner began imposing conditions for withdrawing the money. Then at the start of this month, the site announced it would start paying back investors in 84 installments which would take over seven years to complete. The payments were supposed to be made in foreign currencies [which] is not permitted by Thai laws.”

After a preliminary investigation, the police is sure that not 30, but 140 people became victims of the scam. Moreover, it can be related to a big scandal which happened in August 2018, when a popular Thai actor and his siblings stole about 797 million baht ($25.5 million).

According to the Bangkok Post, the company has two official offices in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, which may make the victims think that the company’s operations are legal.

Thailand treats digital money with caution and tries to regulate it. The Thai Ministry of Finance even issued a document last year where all the country’s cryptocurrency activities were regulated, including the taxation of participants of crypto market.

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Japanese Giant GMO Internet Lost ¥1.3 Billion in 2018: Report

One of the biggest Internet companies in the world, Japan-based GMO Internet Inc., posted a report on its financial performance. An operating loss accounts for ¥1.3 billion (~$11.75 million) in 2018.

GMO’s mining business

According to the report, mining business fared very poorly in 2018 which resulted in great losses. The company explained that the business did not increase as expected due to the collapse of cryptocurrency market in Q4. The report provides  the table where we can see the real revenue and real loss of the company. The data provided below does not include “extraordinary losses” of approximately $319.2 million.

Source: GMO Fiscal Report 2018

Alongside, Internet giant announced that it would implement a policy change regarding to their mining business model. The company will sell its bitcoin mining assets at cheaper rates to compensate for a portion of its annual losses.

Moreover, GMO plans to relocate mining centers to the regions where power supply is cheaper. The centers allegedly will be somewhere in Northern Europe.

GMO’s Bitcoin exchange

Source: GMO Fiscal Report 2018

According to the report, the company’s quarter-revenue has fallen by 66.7%, even though the company annually posts about its 7% profit from its crypto exchange GMOCoin.

In 2018, GMOCoin recorded a net sales of ¥4.02 billion (~$36.33 million). In Q1, crypto exchange has lost about ¥76 million, yet, high sales of next quarters compensated them. The fall of cryptocurrency market has also played a significant role in GMO’s revenues. Each phase ended on a lower note than a previous one in terms of sales, while the profits remained marginal.

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The Most Dangerous Crypto Crimes: What About SIM Swappers?

Cyber attack and crypto crimes in every shape and form are quite abundant on the market of digital assets right now. They all have different goals and different levels of harm. The careful and thorough analysis of such attacks will make it possible to predict them and protect sites, platforms and companies from breaches and money losses.

However, there is a weird tendency going on among the analytical reports, which we will try to explain down below.

Two major cyber security companies Chainalysis and CipherTrace released their analytical statements at the end of last year. Both reports contained statistics on hacker attacks and crypto crimes and an outline of current trends.

The main focus of CipherTrace was different money laundering techniques, cryptocurrencies that are the easiest targets for crypto criminals that choose this path, AML regulations and other related info.

Whereas Chainalysis told its readers on the scale and profitability of such Ethereum scams as phishing and various Ponzi schemes.

Surprisingly, there seems to be nothing about the infamous SIM-swapping.

Just to remind you, SIM-swapping is a kind of a cyber attack aimed at money theft. Simply speaking, a hacker convinces the phone provider to “swap” the number of a victim to a new device. In such way, criminals get full access to the personal information of their victims, still their identity, and later money.

SIM-swapping scams have been involved in multiple scandals with the biggest cell-phone providers of America, the crimes involving this technique resulted in huge money thefts and loud arrests of witty hackers, yet very few reports actually mention it.

However, this still does not diminish the dominance of SIM-swapping over many other types of crypto crimes. In order to fight it, we not only need more coverage from the mass media and analytical firms, but also the cooperation from the cell phone companies to protect the users, their info and their money.

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Mozilla Firefox Is Working On Security To Adopt Crypto Mining and Fingerprinting Blockers

Mozilla Firefox has become the fastest and safest web browser in the world after a major upgrade in 2018. The browser has always been known for its flexibility and support for extensions, yet, it does not stop here. According to the report of Techdows, Firefox decided to pursue implementation of strong privacy tools, creating blockers for crypto mining and fingerprints.  

How did it all start?

At the end of August, 2018, Mozilla Firefox made a post in its blog stating that they would change the approach to the anti-tracking. To be more specific, they made a decision to improve load page performance.

In accordance with the study made by Ghostery, more than half of time required to open a page is spent to load third-party trackers. On this reason, Mozilla ran a test version of a feature that blocked trackers and other “harmful practices”, including cryptocurrency mining malware scripts, in Firefox Nightly with the possibility to make it automatically in Firefox 63.  

Keeping in mind that cross-site tracking protection may break all the websites in the browser, Mozilla decided to add features one by one and they go even further in Firefox 67.

What does Mozilla offer now?

First is the ability to block cryptocurrency miners. As we all know, operating systems are often affected by different mining malwares, like it happened with Linux system back in November, 2018. That is why, Mozilla takes measures to prevent it.

Second is blocking of fingerprinting. Identifying your unique device may not be as harmful as mining malwares, yet still it is better to use it as a privacy matter. Only generic information will be sent to the websites that you visit, and your hardware configuration will be harder to distinguish from others on the web.

The way these extensions will look in the browser is shown below:


Source: https://techdows.com/

In fact, Mozilla continues to do what other browsers have already started long ago.

Opera thought about how to protect users from miners in December, 2017, showing the world its beta version of a browser extension NoCoin that had an embedded anti-mining mode to protect users from hidden miners. Later, it turned to mobile version of the browser.

Google Chrome also launched extensions for protection from illegitimate mining and cryptocurrency theft in October, 2018.

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