Four cryptojacking trends on the 2019 horizon

Cryptojacking isn't set to go away in 2019. Here are four trends to help ensure your network isn't being compromised.
1 January 2019

Cryptojacking targets machines’ CPU processing power. Source: Shutterstock

Cases of cryptocurrency mining and cryptojacking will continue to grow in 2019, as attackers target smart devices and home assistants to build crypto-mining farms, according to ESET’s latest trends report.

Along with cryptomining, its Cybersecurity Trends 2019 report details the predictions of top experts from the global cybersecurity firm, revealing the cybersecurity trends set to impact businesses in 2019.

# 1 | Cryptomining continues to rise

Cryptocurrency mining beat ransomware in terms of media attention in the past year and cryptojacking— the process by which a device is hi-jacked for cryptocurrency mining CPU power— “shows no signs of slowing down”, according to ESET Senior Security Researcher David Harley.

Commenting on this trend, Harley said: “We can also expect to see more coin-mining software attempting to remove competing coin-miners on compromised systems in order to get a higher-calorie slice of the processing pie.”

An increase in the adoption of cryptocurrencies, as well as a rise in the number of devices connected to the internet, could also mean that smart devices and homes assistants become the entry point for attackers to build cryptomining farms in 2019.

Cyberattacks specifically designed to attack IoT devices, such as automated scripts that exploit vulnerabilities in connected devices or processes that are designed to take control of them, will become more frequent.

# 2 | Data privacy will make or break companies

In 2018, issues around data privacy and protection came sharply into focus following a number of high-profile cyberattacks, data leaks, and privacy missteps, as well as the implementation of GDPR.

ESET Senior Security Researchers Stephen Cobb and Lysa Myers commented that in light of incidents such as Cambridge Analytica, we are likely to see people searching for alternatives to the platforms such as Facebook that currently dominate.

Given the importance of customer data to companies, individuals, and to cybercriminals, ESET argues that the ability to properly manage data privacy could decide which companies stay in business in 2019.

# 3 | Attackers use automation to advance social engineering campaigns

ESET asserts that 2019 will see an increase in cybercriminals’ use of automation in attempts to collect more data so that they can launch more personalized and sophisticated social engineering campaigns.

Lysa Myers, ESET Senior Security Researcher, writes that “While some phishing and other fraud attacks have certainly improved their ability to mimic legitimate sources, many are still painfully obvious fakes. Machine learning could help increase efficiency in this area.”

# 4 | A move towards a global privacy law?

Following the implementation of GDPR, ESET questions whether the EU legislation is the first step towards a global privacy law, particularly as similar models start to appear in California, Brazil, and Japan.

Considering this, ESET warns against dismissing privacy rights and data protection as an EU anomaly. The pressure to protect customers’ data and ensure the privacy of sensitive information is a global issue and will certainly encourage a move towards GDPR-style privacy around the world.

While manufacturers understand that they need to implement security policies within the application layer of their products to increase the protection and confidentiality of data, more attacks and exploits in which code is injected to expose vulnerabilities will continue to happen, according to the report.

As always, the threats and risks in cyberspace abound at a relentless pace. With the advent of higher data speeds and increased connectivity through cutting edge networking, intrusions and privacy concerns will continue to dominate the headlines.