59% of Businesses in the UK Suffered Cryptojacking Attacks at Some Point, Survey Shows

  • A recent study found that 59% of businesses in the UK have ben hit with a cryptojakcing attack at some point.
  • These attacks see bad actors maliciously use their computer resources to mine cryptos.

According to research commissioned by Citrix and executed by OnePoll, 59% percent of large enterprises in the United Kingdom have been targeted with cryptojacking attacks.

The research, which was conducted in May 2018, focused on organizations that employed over 250 people. 750 key IT decision-makers from these companies were polled about the risks posed by cyberattacks from hackers looking to maliciously mine cryptocurrency.

The findings, made public this week, showed that 59% of respondents found crypto mining malware on their computer systems sometime in the past. The last 6 months saw up to 80% of the cases, with 30% of the businesses being attacked last month.

The study’s findings seem to be in line with a McAfee Labs report that stated cryptojacking malware cases had risen by 629% in the first quarter of 2018. On the other hand, 38% of the respondents revealed their companies have never been hit with a cryptojacking attack.

Understanding Cryptojacking

Cryptojacking refers to the use of someone else’s computer resources to maliciously mine cryptocurrencies without their knowledge. This can be done remotely by infecting the target’s devices with malware that uses its machine’s processing power to mine specific cryptocurrencies, often Monero (XMR) for its CPU-friendly mining algorithm.

Finding the attackers in cryptojacking cases is extremely difficult since the cryptos they mine are often untraceable privacy-centric coins like Monero. Since they’re using someone else’s machines, the attackers could be anywhere in the world.

The practice slows down computers for its heavy CPU resource usage. Businesses, including those completely unrelated to cryptocurrencies, have to pay attention to the practice. In some rare cases, computers were forced to overheat while mining.

How Businesses Tackle the Problem

Businesses need more than anti-malware software to tackle the cryptojacking threat, as the study’s findings revealed only 7% of cases were detected by anti-malware applications. Various respondents, 38%, detected the attacks through their network monitoring systems, while 34% did so through their co-workers.

According to the poll, while 21% of companies have no plans to combat crypto mining attacks, the majority, 67%, are aware of the threats posed by cryptojacking and have policies on it.

Various businesses detect cryptojacking attacks the same way they detect other cyber threats. Some, 41%, rely on network monitoring systems, while 24% rely on blocking crypto mining websites

UK's Regulator Warns Against Fraudulent Firm Cloning Financial Giant TP ICAP

The UK’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has uncovered another allegedly fraudulent crypto-related scheme.

On Friday (May 24, 2019), the FCA revealed that a company called ICAP Crypto had been impersonating an established firm known as ICAP Europe Limited. ICAP Crypto reportedly attempted to lure unsuspecting investors into a potential scam involving cryptocurrencies.

Using Company Details Belonging to Legitimate Financial Firms

While ICAP Crypto’s management does not claim its services are regulated by the FCA, the allegedly fraudulent firm has been using the company details that belong to legitimate UK-registered financial service providers.

The FCA has warned that the potential scammers operating ICAP Crypto may be using the company license information of established firms in order to lure investors into investing into a fraudulent crypto scheme.

According to the FCA, ICAP Crypto has provided contact information which may be “mixed” with details that belong to TP ICAP, one of the largest global interdealer brokers. Moreover, the FCA cautioned users that ICAP Crypto has launched a website that is not licensed by the FCA to offer financial services.

No Details Regarding Crypto Services

There’s also no association between the management and services provided by TP ICAP and ICAP Crypto, the UK’s financial regulator clarified. Furthermore, the FCA’s investigation has revealed that ICAP Crypto appears to be offering various crypto-related services including a platform to launch initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Although ICAP Crypto seems to be offering several different cryptocurrency-related products, the FCA found that the allegedly fraudulent firm has not provided any specific details regarding its services.

ICAP Crypto’s management states that its services include “a sophisticated blend of engineering with experience to empower thousands of marketers to access markets around the world through the use of digital currency entirely outside the traditional financial system.” However, it remains unclear what type of services the company actually offers.

FCA Planning To Draft Comprehensive Crypto Regulations

In January 2019, the UK’s financial regulator called for increased regulatory oversight over the leading European nation’s cryptocurrency market. In order to create regulations for digital assets, the FCA launched a consultation which requested feedback regarding how to regulate crypto transactions.

The FCA had specifically asked for feedback on how to regulate crypto exchanges, digital asset payment processing services, wallet providers, and broker dealers offering crypto derivatives.