Cryptojacking has reached record levels despite falling digital asset prices in the first half of 2022, new research by American cybersecurity company SonicWall shows. It says that global cryptojacking volumes rose by $66.7 million, which is about 30%, in the first half of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021.
Cryptojacking is a cybercrime. Malicious actors take over the victim’s computer resources via malware designed to mine cryptocurrencies. Hackers often execute this through vulnerabilities in web browsers and extensions.
Bill Conner, president and CEO of SonicWall, said with geopolitical forces accelerating the reconfiguration of the world’s cyber frontlines, the true danger presented by hackers is coming to the fore. He highlighted that 2022 has been a wake-up call as there are no safe industries and no safe countries – cyber crime is everywhere. Conner outlined that 2022 has already seen attackers targeting Microsoft Teams, slipping into chats, and dropping malicious executables into conversations.
The report highlights that cryptojacking by April was already down by half from its peak. In May, it was even lower and resulted in a second-quarter attack volume of just 21.6 million, less than half the amount seen in the preceding three months. The drop may be attributed to falling cryptocurrency prices. Researchers have seen significantly higher cryptojacking volumes in Q1 than in Q2, resulting in the cryptojacking summer slump. The report noted that cryptojacking in the retail industry increased 63% year-to-date, while attacks on the financial industry skyrocketed 269%. This shows a dramatic reshuffling. The number of attacks on the finance industry is stated to be five times greater than the second-highest industry.
SonicWall believes that cybercriminals continue to target the digital assets industry because it’s easier to hustle harder than it is to find a new line of work. It said leveraging the Log4j vulnerability and deploying attacks in the cloud present newer and more lucrative opportunities.