The recent closure of Coinhive, combined with the prolonged bear market seem to be heralding the cryptojacking end. With crypto prices being higher and the majority of users not even aware cryptojacking existed, for a time it was extremely profitable.
The program to mine Monero was actually created as a means of legitimately monetizing web pages. Instead of those pesky ads which openly state that Google made a profit from your search history, this mining software simply harnessed a tiny fraction of the computing power of every website visitor.
If a website was very popular, a lot of power was harnessed in order to mine Monero. This allowed for site owners to score a profit without having to deal with advertisements. The theory was good, the practice however, went entirely the wrong way.
This software which was aimed to the greedy ad companies was quickly turned on the very people it intended to help. Cryptojacking was born and millions of devices ended up being affected. This resulted in a lot of electric bills going up which was probably one of the first hints which began to alarm people.
Eventually the issue spiraled out of control and even government websites and university network had to be shut down.
The situation was so severe that Google resorted to banning all crypto mining extensions from the Chrome store. Тhis unfortunately included even the legitimate ones.
Additionally, an NSA leak was indirectly responsible for cryptojacking rising by 459% last year. The Eternal Blue software was leaked and sold by a group known as the Shadow Brokers. After it was sold, the Eternal Blue software allowed attackers to exploit Windows-based systems.
The cryptojacking end could have come earlier
As things began to spiral even further out of control, Coinhive became the world’s biggest malware threat. It was estimated that over 5% of all the Monero which was mined came through cryptojacking. Inevitably, when the profits of Coinhive shrunk, so did those of the attackers.
Last month, Coinhive announced their shut down and many people thought this signaled the end of cryptojacking.
Reports came out claiming that cryptojacking was in no point profitable as one report even stated that an attack which hijacked 5000 websites managed to mine only $24 worth of Monero. When we take into account that all cryptojacking software is basically a modified version of Coinhive, it makes sense that attackers are facing the same problems. With the cryptojacking end finally here, attackers are forced to turn to other strategies.
With Coinhive no longer operational, other threats are bound to rise up. Statistically, Coinhive accounted for over 60% of the cryptojacking market. This means that the other 40% are used and are likely to see an increase in usage.
There is no possible replacement for cryptojacking when it comes to global malware threats. Most reports and security firms are pointing to Cryptoloot as the next top contender. So, despite the closure of Coinhive, the malware issue is here to stay. If we can safely declare that the end of crypto jacking has come, what’s coming afterwards is bound to even more troublesome.
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