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.

Dash Investors Receive Lost Funds Following Suspected Exit Scam

Michael LaVere
  • Dash users have begun receiving their lost funds from masternode operator MooCowMoo. 
  • Moo ceased paying rewards in August, leading some to suspect an exit scam. 

Dash investors have reportedly begun receiving their lost funds following the sudden disappearance of former Dash Core Group senior advisor MooCowMoo.

As previously reported, MooCowMoo ran a masternode management service called masternode.me that ceased paying user rewards in Aug. 2019. Users were required to send MooCowMoo 1000 Dash (~$50,000) in order to host a masternode in addition to paying a flat service fee. 

According to a Reddit post, Dash users have suddenly begun receiving their lost funds in the form of payouts from MooCowMoo. Rather than being upset, some users praised the former Dash Core Group senior advisor for finally taking action. 

The post reads, 

Moo has finally been woken from his slumber and is currently sending the money back to its rightful owners. So much for "exit scam". Looks like this one backfired, huh? Anyway: Big fat thank you for resolving this!”

In addition to individual anecdotes of users receiving funds, the Dash Core Group also provided news outlet Bitcoinist with screenshot evidence confirming that MooCowMoo had returned the funds. 

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