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Cryptojacking rises, ransomware decreases

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According to the report by SonicWall, in the first half of 2023 there were 332.3 million cryptojacking attacks recorded. Compared to last year, this number surged by a staggering 399% globally.

Cryptojacking is a kind of a cyberattack in which malicious actors commandeer other people's devices to covertly utilize their computational resources for cryptocurrency mining, without notifying the owners.

Another interesting detail of the report is a decrease in ransomware attacks. SonicWall recorded 140.1 million ransomware attacks, which is 41% less compared with the same period last year.

Ransomware attack is a type of cyber extortion where the attacker holds the victim's data hostage until a ransom, usually in cryptocurrency, is paid.

Cryptojacking trends

Cryptojacking attacks are not limited to a specific region; they are a global phenomenon that spares no corner of the digital realm. However, according to the report, North America and Europe suffered the most, with a significant spike by 345% and 788% respectively compared to the same period in 2022.

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The total volume of cryptojaking in 2023 amounts to the numbers recorded in 2020, 2021 and 2022 all together.

Experts state that such a drastic surge is connected with cyber criminals changing their tactics. They tend to choose “slower, behind-the-scenes approach of stealing compute power to mine digital currency”. One of the examples provided in the report claims that criminals have come up with a new variant of AsyncRAT (a tool that allows to remotely monitor and control other computers through a secure encrypted connection) for stealing Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Tether. 

Cryptojacking became a problem for many industries this year as well. Healthcare customers experienced 69 times more attacks compared to last year, and the percentage of those who had been affected rose from 0.06% right to 32%. Government sector saw a significant jump, amounting to 89 times cryptojacking cases. But education had to face the biggest attack, with numbers skyrocketing to 55% of customers being targeted each month.

The data indicates that cybercriminals have adopted this discrete approach of cryptojacking due to heightened law enforcement activity and stringent sanctions, all of which become an obstacle when it comes to ransomware attacks.

Ransomware decrease 

And here it is North America and Europe again that in this case demonstrate the lower numbers. North America saw a 45% decrease, as the attacks dipped to 72.8 million, and Europe experienced a decline of 11%. The largest decrease in ransomware was recorded in Latin America at 77%.

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In 2023, global ransomware volume is 3 times less than last year, which is the lowest index for the past 6 years. But there are still 6 months ahead, and experts suggest that ransomware could still rebound. 

Ransomware attacks, as SonicWall claims, dropped across all industries but for the government ones. This sector’s index rose 6%. Healthcare, finance and retail dropped by 60%, 93% and 96%, respectively.

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Maria Kachura
Maria Kachura

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