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.

Waves' DEX Relaunches as Hybrid Cryptocurrency Exchange

  • Decentralized exchange (DEX) Waves DEX has closed and will relaunch as a hybrid cryptocurrency exchange.
  • Waves' main development team will shift its focus to the Waves protocol while a separate team handles the exchange. 

Decentralized exchange (DEX) Waves DEX shut down in order to rebrand itself as a hybrid cryptocurrency exchange. 

According to a report by FinanceMagnates, the former decentralized crypto exchange shut down its operation with the intention of relaunching as a new, hybrid exchange. Waves DEX has already ceased operation on its old domain and is currently in the process of migrating to Waves.Exchange. 

The exchange reassured that user funds will be protected during the migration,

From this point onwards, the old version of the exchange will be unavailable, and the website will offer only functionality to support migration. User funds held on Waves DEX will remain completely safe during and after the process.

Waves announced its main development team will focus on the Waves protocol while support for the new hybrid exchange will be handled by a separate, dedicated team that will include some former Waves core developers. 

Waves founder and CEO Sasha Ivanov said, 

Waves DEX was a kind of prototype. Now, after 2 years of operation, it has grown and become a separate project. [...] Now it’s time for us to focus on protocol development and hand over the exchange to an  external team and community separate from Waves, so we can merge all the infrastructure teams into one, synchronizing development work and taking the combined product to a new level.

Waves.Exchange intends to combine the irreversibility of transactions, safety and user control of a decentralized exchange with the more common features of a centralized trading platform. 

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