With the price of digital currencies having continuously been on the increase, hackers that are on the make are changing their attack methods. They used ransom ware, which encrypts people's important data through hacking and demand for payment, in the past. However, they are now infecting computers of many users and using them to mine virtual currencies.
According to security industry sources on December 14, hackers are recently making an attack to use people’s computers to mine digital currencies.
As the price of bitcoin has surged to 20 million won (US$18,365), an increasing number of people are seeking to mine bitcoin. Mining bitcoin is the same concept of mining resources by using tools, or diggers, at mines, or mining programs. When diggers equipped with graphics cards solve encrypted math questions, they can get a certain amount of bitcoin.
However, virtual currencies have a lower payability over time. A few years ago, individuals can mine bitcoin using their personal computers but it is impossible to mine digital currencies now without costly technical equipment or large-scale mines. Accordingly, hackers are using computer resources of unspecified individual users through hacking and establishing a large-scale virtual mine in a bid to directly mine resources. An official from the security industry said, “Until the third quarter, new and aberrant ransom ware viruses appeared everyday but it feels that its appearance frequency slightly decreased these days. On the other hand, we could see many cases to hack computers to mine bitcoin as the price of bitcoin skyrocketed this month.”
In fact, hackers who disguised as job seekers tried to infect the computers of recruiting mangers at numerous companies with viruses, including malware that can mine encrypted currencies, this month according to a recent malware analysis report from computer security company ESTsecurity. In addition, hackers, who spread the Venus Locker and Auto Cryptor ransom wares to South Korean institutions and firms from the end of December last year, recently sought to distribute malicious files that can mine virtual currencies. An official from the industry said, “As the price of bitcoin has shown a rapid rise, hackers seem to focus on mining which has a higher profitability compared to labor inputs.”
Meanwhile, many related businesses are suffering as more and more people are seeking to directly mine bitcoin. An increasing number of consumers are trying to make bad use of the services to mine digital currencies. Accordingly, the cloud industry, which remotely lends computerized equipment, including servers, is making a move to introduce the total ban by changing the Terms of Service.