Coinhive stops digging, but cryptomining still dominates

While cryptomining services such as Coinhive have closed down, cryptominers are still the most prevalent malware aimed at organizations globally, according to the Check Point Global Threat Index for March 2019.

cryptomining still dominates

As announced last month, both Coinhive and Authedmine stopped their mining services on March 8th. For the first time since December 2017, Coinhive dropped from the Index’s top position but, despite having only operated for eight days in March, it was still the 6th most prevalent malware hitting organizations. At its peak, Coinhive impacted 23% of organizations worldwide.

Many websites still contain the Coinhive JavaScript code today, though with no mining activity taking place. Check Point’s researchers warn that Coinhive may well reactivate if the value of Monero increases. Alternatively, other mining services may increase their activity to take advantage of Coinhive’s absence.

During March, three of the top five most prevalent malware were cryptominers – Cryptoloot, XMRig and JSEcoin. Cryptoloot headed the Threat Index for the first time, closely followed by Emotet, the modular trojan. Both had a global impact of 6%. XMRig is the third most popular malware impacting 5% of organizations worldwide.

Maya Horowitz, Threat Intelligence and Research Director at Check Point commented: “With cryptocurrencies’ values dropping overall since 2018, we will be seeing more cryptominers for browsers following Coinhive’s steps and ceasing operation. However, I suspect that cyber criminals will find ways to earn from more robust cryptomining activities, such as mining on cloud environments, where the built-in auto-scaling feature allows the creation of a larger haul of cryptocurrency. We have seen organizations being asked to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to their cloud vendors for the compute resources used illicitly by cryptominers. This is a call for action for organizations to secure their cloud environments.”

Top 3 most wanted malware in March 2019

Cryptoloot – Crypto-Miner that uses the victim’s CPU or GPU power and existing resources for crypto mining – adding transactions to the blockchain and releasing new currency. It is a competitor to Coinhive, trying to pull the rug under it by asking a smaller percentage of revenue from websites.

Emotet – Advanced, self-propagate and modular Trojan. Emotet once used to employ as a banking Trojan, and recently is used as a distributer to other malware or malicious campaigns. It uses multiple methods for maintaining persistence and evasion techniques to avoid detection. In addition, it can be spread through phishing spam emails containing malicious attachments or links.

XMRig – Open source CPU mining software used for the mining process of the Monero cryptocurrency, and first seen in-the-wild on May 2017.

This month Hiddad is the most prevalent Mobile malware, replacing Lotoor at first place in the top mobile malware list. Triada remains in third place.

Top 3 most wanted mobile malware in March 2019

Hiddad – Android malware which repackages legitimate apps and then released them to a third-party store. Its main function is displaying ads, however it is also able to gain access to key security details built into the OS, allowing an attacker to obtain sensitive user data.

Lotoor – Hack tool that exploits vulnerabilities on Android operating system in order to gain root privileges on compromised mobile devices.

Triada – Modular Backdoor for Android which grants super user privileges to downloaded malware, as helps it to get embedded into system processes. Triada has also been seen spoofing URLs loaded in the browser.

Researchers also analyzed the most exploited cyber vulnerabilities. CVE-2017-7269 is still leading the top exploited vulnerabilities with a 44% global impact. Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure and is in second place, with OpenSSL TLS DTLS Heartbeat Information Disclosure in third, both impacting 40% of organizations worldwide.

Top 3 most exploited vulnerabilities in March 2019

Microsoft IIS WebDAV ScStoragePathFromUrl Buffer Overflow (CVE-2017-7269) – By sending a crafted request over a network to Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 through Microsoft Internet Information Services 6.0, a remote attacker could execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service conditions on the target server. That is mainly due to a buffer overflow vulnerability resulted by improper validation of a long header in HTTP request.

Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure – An information disclosure vulnerability has been reported in Git Repository. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow an unintentional disclosure of account information.

OpenSSL TLS DTLS Heartbeat Information Disclosure (CVE-2014-0160; CVE-2014-0346) – An information disclosure vulnerability exists in OpenSSL. The vulnerability is due to an error when handling TLS/DTLS heartbeat packets. An attacker can leverage this vulnerability to disclose memory contents of a connected client or server.