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Talking Security – with Norton

Kevin Haley, director of Symantec Security Response, warns of the risks presented by the explosion in cryptojacking

Over the past year, the astronomical rise in cryptocurrency values has triggered a cryptojacking gold rush. With cyber criminals attempting to cash in on a volatile market, detections of coinminers on endpoint computers increased by 8,500% in 2017.

With a low barrier of entry – coinminers only require a couple lines of code to operate – cyber criminals are harnessing stolen processing power and cloud CPU usage from consumers and enterprises to mine cryptocurrency.

Coinminers can slow devices, overheat batteries and, in some cases, render devices unusable. For enterprise organisations, coinminers can put corporate networks at risk of shutdown and inflate cloud CPU usage, adding cost.

IoT devices continue to be ripe targets for exploitation. Symantec found a 600% increase in overall IoT attacks in 2017, which means that cyber criminals could exploit the connected nature of these devices to mine en masse.

Nor are Macs immune, with Symantec detecting an 80% increase in coin mining attacks against Mac OS. By leveraging browser-based attacks, criminals do not need to download malware to a victim’s Mac or PC to carry out cyber attacks.

To avoid having to fight for resources on your phone, computer or IoT device as attackers use them for profit, it is vital to expand your defenses or pay the price of someone else using your device.

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