UK National Cyber Security Centre Lists Cryptojacking As “Significant” Threat

  • The UK's National Cyber Security Centre revealed cryptojacking is a cause for concern, and that it may become a legitimate source of income for website owners.
  • Cryptojacking has been growing in popularity among cybercriminals, and may affect a growing number of people in the next few years.

According to a report published by the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) this week, cryptojacking will be categorised as a form of cybercrime in the UK, as it is now seen as a “significant” cybersecurity concern. Per the organization, it’s likely going to “become a regular source of income for website owners.”

Cryptojacking essentially sees cybercriminals use other people’s computer resources to mine cryptocurrencies. Often, criminals mine privacy-centric cryptocurrencies like Monero (XMR), both to avoid detection and maximize profits mining with CPUs.

In the NCSC's comprehensive report, activities like cryptojacking, the use of cryptocurrency within targeted cybercrime, and ransomware were added as cause for concern. Unlike conventional currencies, cryptocurrencies like Monero offer anonymity to their users, cutting off potential trails leading to the criminals’ arrest.

Cryptojacking On The Rise

According to the report, cryptojacking cases have been increasing in number since 2016. Research conducted in December 2017 showed that 55% of businesses across the world have been infiltrated by cybercriminals looking to use their systems to mine.

By 2018/19, it's believed that cryptojacking will expand and affect a fast-growing number of people and businesses across the world. The report goes on to demonstrate that there are already 600 websites operating in the UK using visitor CPU resources to mine cryptocurrencies. The document reads:

"The technique of delivering cryptocurrency miners through malware has been used for several years, but it is likely in 2018-19 that one of the main threats will be a newer technique of mining cryptocurrency which exploits visitors to a website."

NCSC report

The report further notes that when being cryptojacked, users may only notice a “slight slowdown in performance,” meaning some cases go undetected. Although most cases involve cybercriminals using people’s resources without their consent, some websites ask for user consent as an alternative to showing ads.

The NCSC, at the end of the report, advised users to protect themselves with ad blockers and anti-malware programs that block cryptojacking scripts. A few browsers, including Opera and Brave, have built-in tools that block cryptocurrency miners.

Cybercrime in the UK has increased over the past few years; from WannaCry to present, with a growing number of crimes taking place in the UK. According to the Office of National Statistics, the volume of cybercrime has risen by 63% compared to last year.

The monetary cost of the rising cybercrime attacks has provoked action; the cabinet office reported that, without countermeasures, cybercrime would cost British businesses and taxpayers up to £27 billion (~$38 billion) annually.

Billionaire Novogratz: Altcoins Won't Pump Like In 2017 Bull Run, Bitcoin Will Dominate

It appears that cryptocurrency prices have finally begun to recover after enduring an extended bear market which lasted throughout 2018.

As the market capitalization of Bitcoin (BTC) and other major cryptoassets continues to rise, several analysts have been drawing comparisons between what they’re seeing in the current market and what they observed during the historic bull market of late 2017 and early 2018.

Commenting on the recent crypto market price movements via Twitter, Ran NeuNer, the host of the CNBC Africa Trader show, remarked:

The market is running but we still haven’t seen the crazy alt pumps, pumps where coins do 40% in a day...is it coming?

Bitcoin To “Outperform” All Other Cryptos “This Time”

As the bitcoin price begins to recover, there have been many predictions made regarding the anticipated performance of altcoins. Twitter user “Crypto Bitlord” (@Crypto_Bitlord), a widely-followed digital asset market analyst, believes XRP, which currently has a market cap of around $16.3 billion, may trade as high as $10.

However, prominent crypto investor Michael Novogratz believes that digital asset traders are a lot smarter this time, when compared to some of the bad investment decisions they might have made during the initial coin offering (ICO) craze of 2017.

Novogratz, who’s the founder and CEO of Galaxy Digital, a full-service crypto merchant bank, has predicted that in this market run, Bitcoin will “outperform” all other cryptoassets.

On May 16th, 2019, the Bitcoin price surged to a 2019 high of $8,373 according to CryptoCompare data. In response to bitcoin’s recent price movements, Juan Villaverde, the Chief Analyst at Weiss Crypto Ratings, told CryptoGlobe: 

Bitcoin could fall to as low as $4,400. But [if] it does, it will be the best Bitcoin buying opportunity since 2015.

“More Good News For New Bitcoin Users”

Villaverde, an econometrician and mathematician focused on developing various crypto index models at Weiss Ratings, believes bitcoin would be a great buy at a lower price (as suggested above) because of the following reasons:

  • “The usage of Bitcoin is near all-time highs – 450,000 transactions per day. That’s up from a low of 150,000 in April of 2018 and approaching the all-time high of 490,000 in December of 2017.”
  • “Despite the high transaction volume, fees on the Bitcoin network are at their lowest levels since August of 2017 – more good news for users.”
  • “The Bitcoin block size is now greater than ever before, thanks to the Segwit technology upgrade.”

Villaverde further noted that the predictions are “based on studying the time patterns in Bitcoin's rises and falls throughout its 9 year trading history.” He explained that the time patterns have been analyzed by using an “algorithm-based market cycles model.”

The Chief Analyst at Weiss Ratings also mentioned that the bear market “ended on December 15th 2018 and the model confirmed this shift in trend on March 26th of this year.”

He added:

Then, after the rally that took place starting on April 25th, the same model told me a new bull market was now underway. The same model indicated a 30% to 45% correction due as of late April-early May and we seem to be experiencing that right now.