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Chainalysis exposes simple malware stealing millions in crypto

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Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics firm, has released a report regarding malware targeting the crypto sector. The report noted that cybercriminals were using ‘less sophisticated malware to attack individuals.

Different types of malware are used to conduct unauthorized activity on a victim’s phone or computer. The Chainalysis report did not include ransomware, a type of malware usually targeting high profile individuals and organizations for financial extortion.

Cybercriminals using less sophisticated malware

The Chainalysis report looked into different malware, including information stealers, clippers, cryptojackers and trojans. These types of malware are cheap to acquire, and they can even be deployed by “low-skilled cybercriminals.” The malware can be used to steal funds from victims.

Trojans were attributed to 19% of the entire malware attacks in the sector, while cryptojacking took the largest share of 73%. Information stealers and clippers accounted for only 1% each.

The report notes that the hackers send the proceeds to centralized exchanges in most cases. However, the amount being sent to CEX’s is declining. In 2021, only 54% of the stolen funds were sent to exchanges, which is significantly low from the 75% and 90% reported in 2020 and 2019, respectively.

The report notes that DeFi protocols were increasingly being used as an avenue to send these funds. “DeFi protocols make up much of the difference at 20% in 2021, after having received a negligible share of malware funds in 2020.”

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Information stealers have also been increasingly used. The report pointed to the Hackboss clipper that has stolen over half a million dollars worth of crypto since 2012.

Cryptojacking on the rise

The cryptojacking malware accounted for the largest amounts of funds stolen from the crypto sector. This type of malware uses computing power from a victim’s device to mine different cryptocurrencies. The report noted that the asset mainly mined through this cryptocurrency is Monero, Zcash and Ethereum.

The report noted that the number of attacks launched through this malware is high, with the projection estimated to be around 75% of the total revenues generated from crypto malware.

In 2020, Cisco’s cloud security division noted that 69% of its clients were victims of cryptojacking, showing that this form of malware had access to a high level of computing power used to mine large amounts of crypto. Chainalysisalso referred to another 2018 report by Palo Alto Network that indicated around $100 million worth of Monero was mined through cryptojacking.

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