IBM: Cybercriminals are moving on from ransomware to cryptojacking. IBM researchers have found that cryptojacking dominated the cryptocurrency cybercrime scene in 2018, overtaking ransomware attacks. Experts say the comparatively less intrusive and stealthy nature of malicious crypto-mining is the primary reason why it is fast becoming the attack vector of choice for cybercriminals.

Table of contents:

IBM: Cybercriminals are moving on from ransomware to cryptojacking

In a report published by the IBM X-Force Research team on Wednesday (February 27, 2019), the company reported that 2018 saw a massive increase in cyber attacks against organizations across the world.

According to the report, cryptojacking dominated the field as cybercriminals appear to be pivoting away from ransomware and malware attacks.


The report indicated that stealthy cryptocurrency mining attacks increased by 450 percent between Q1 and Q4 2018. Meanwhile, ransomware attacks dropped by 45 percent during the same period. IBM says the extent of the spread of cryptojacking attacks covers both desktop and mobile platforms.

In 2018, Bitcoinist covered multiple instances of such attacks from Tesla cloud-computing platform to The Pirate Bay (TBP) torrent downloading service.

IBM: Cybercriminals are moving on from ransomware to cryptojacking


Experts say cybercriminals are pivoting towards malicious crypto-mining due to its less disruptive nature. Speaking to Fortune, Charles Henderson of the IBM X-Force Red, said:

With the extortion racket of ransomware, you lose the customer after one transaction, so it’s a one and done, there’s no recurring revenue-I mean it’s just bad business.

According to Henderson, cryptojacking is akin to a revenue subscription model where the hacking cartels can count on a continuous revenue stream as long as the victims remain unaware. Whereas, for ransomware attacks, the attacker only gets one bulk payment per victim.

IBM: Cybercriminals are moving on from ransomware to cryptojacking


While malicious crypto-mining might appear less menacing on the surface than ransomware and malware attacks, Henderson says ignoring its spread could have severe repercussions in the future. He adds that it is not beyond the realms of possibility for criminals to use cryptojacking for more malicious attack vectors.

What’s more, experts like Henderson say cybercriminals are perfecting their craft. Thus, if left unchecked, cryptojacking can move from surreptitious virtual currency mining to botnets used for spyware attacks. As always, readers are advised to run the latest antivirus software version and avoid installing programs from unofficial sources.

Related Videos:

Related Links:

Fake Google reCAPTCHA used to hide Android banking malware(Opens in a new browser tab)

Coding Resources Recommended by Tech Experts(Opens in a new browser tab)

Ransomware Attacks Target MSPs to Mass-Infect Customers(Opens in a new browser tab)

Protect Your Site from Malicious Requests(Opens in a new browser tab)

B0r0nt0K Ransomware Wants $75,000 Ransom, Infects Linux Servers(Opens in a new browser tab)

Cyberattacks on Canada have already begun(Opens in a new browser tab)

Where automotive cyber security is headed(Opens in a new browser tab)

iPhone Hacking Tool Used by FBI Up for Sale on eBay for $100(Opens in a new browser tab)

Magna’s new MAX4 self-driving platform offers autonomy up to Level 4(Opens in a new browser tab)

New detection method identifies cryptomining and other fileless malware attacks(Opens in a new browser tab)

Nissan follows Tesla’s lead and drops LIDAR from autonomous cars(Opens in a new browser tab)

The Amazing Ways The Ford Motor Company Uses Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning(Opens in a new browser tab)

Microsoft Describes How Government Hackers Stole ‘Large Sums’ From Financial Firms(Opens in a new browser tab)