The cryptocurrency Monero (XMR) happens to be the popular choice for criminals with researchers stating nearly 5% of all Monero has been mined by hackers. Two researchers, Sergio Pastrana and Guillermo Suarez-Tangil, from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and King’s College London, respectively, published their report, estimating that hackers have mined at least 4.32 per cent of the total Monero in circulation.
Commenting on the news is Javvad Malik, security advocate at AlienVault:
“Thieves will follow the money. As Monero has risen in popularity and value, we’ve seen a rise in the number of cryptocurrency miners looking to turn a profit.
It’s not just individuals, but even some states like North Korea see the benefit in mining coins and have pushed out crypto miners of its own.
There is no easy way to stop the flow. Companies and individuals can put in place security controls to protect and defend against miners, but there will always be devices globally that are out of support and are susceptible to being repurposed to mine coins. Especially for those for whom even a small number of coins can be of substantial value.”
Chris Doman, security researcher at AlienVault, also adds:
“This closely matches previous research by Palo Alto that indicates about 5% of Monero has been mined by malware. Monero makes a great choice for mining malware as it’s anonymous and efficient to mine on commodity hardware.”