Ransomware made waves this year when it exploded onto the internet in a series of headline-grabbing attacks, all of which were attempts to extort businesses for exuberant amounts of money. The concept of ransomware is simple: install malware that encrypts all the files on a workstation, attempt to spread through saved email addresses, and ultimately force the user to pay a ransom to decrypt their data again. This is textbook extortion, highly illegal, and extremely disruptive to organizations being targeted.
Hackers are moving from ransomware to cryptomining according to Cisco’s Talos division who reported the shift towards cryptomining on Tuesday. Recently hackers have been finding success with ransomware, with reports of numerous companies and individuals ponying up to unlock their computers. However, now, hackers are finding easier ways to score cash. Ransomware still requires individuals to take action to unlock their systems by sending payments. Many of the victims may not even be familiar with how to purchase bitcoins or prepaid credit cards to make the payment. Others may have satisfactory backups or deem the data locked not important enough to pay for release.