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How Crypto-Thieves Managed to Escape with a Booty in Monero?

As much as $175 million was stolen in Monero through wicked techniques of mining cryptocurrency, a recent study showed. The amount of loss represented about five percent of the total circulation of the digital coin in the segment. The activities of the cybercriminals towards the growing virtual currency segment are increasing despite softness in prices. The world has already seen more than $1 billion being wiped out or stolen from the crypto market.

Criminals Prefer It

The increase in activity of cybercriminals is attributed to the preference of the digital currency by thieves for a variety of reasons, reported. A study also said that this is due to the quick explosion of crypto-mining malware. The exact number of theft could be much bigger since their study failed to add any web-based mining activities or JavaScript. Though the digital currency market is being brought under the purview of the regulators, the interest for the segment is still intact.

A threat analysis service is used in the Palo Alto Networks so that the research could find what type of virtual currencies is preferred by malicious actors to mine. The study also focused on the lucrativeness part of the hackers’ activities to mine digital coins. The research included about 629,126 malware samples during the study. Significantly 85 percent of them or 531,663 has delivered software specifically for Monero mining alone. Interestingly, this is higher than the one focused on bitcoin that enjoys the biggest market cap position. There were only 53,615 malware samples meant for the most valuable digital currency.

There is also another reason for the dominance of Monero in the malware samples. The number of wallets observed by the researchers was over twice that of the total wallets for bitcoin. The study pointed out that researchers could spot 2,341 wallets for Monero whereas there were only 981 wallets for bitcoin. That showed why the digital currency is targeted for stealing purposes.

If the bitcoin faced such a situation, then one could understand the situation of other virtual currencies’ wallet such as Ethereum, Electroneum, and Litecoin. These three cryptocurrencies had wallets of 44, 131 and 28 respectively. Aside from these, the study disclosed that researchers had spotted 3,773 emails that were used to link to mining pools. The study pointed out that there were 2,995 mining pool URLs.

Tough To Manage

Palo Alto Networks’ senior malware researcher, Josh Grunzweig, disclosed that it was not an easy job of defeating the mining software deployed by malware for the cryptocurrency. He explained further, “Many malware authors will limit the CPU utilization, or ensure that mining operations only take place during specific times of the day or when the user is inactive. Additionally, the malware itself is delivered via a large number of methods, requiring defenders to have an in-depth approach to security.”

It might look surprising to some that thieves have preferred Monero digital currency rather than bitcoin, which used to attract hackers the most. That is mainly because of its wider acceptance level and the price it enjoys. One of the reasons could be that hackers might have felt it easy to steal Monero than bitcoin.

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