According to a new study, Monero (XMR) is the most popular cryptocurrency among criminals deploying mining malware. Sergio PASTRANA from the University of Carlos III in Madrid and Guillermo SUARES-TANGIL from King's College in London published a joint report stating that criminals have mined more than 4.3% of the total number of Monero cryptocurrency which is currently in circulation.
Researchers claim that “at least 2,218 active campaigns that have accumulated about 720K XMR (57M USD). Interestingly just a single campaign (C#623) has mined more than 163K XMR (18M USD), which accounts for about 23% of the total estimated. This campaign is still active at the time of writing.”
The authors of the research didn’t get any data on the money turnover made by the malware owners. There is a lack of information and due to the prices of cryptocurrency being quite volatile. At this time, the value of criminal-derived XMR is more than $35 mln.
Bitcoin took second place in popularity among the cryptocurrencies mined by malware, but its popularity has declined over the years. The criminals experimented with Dogecoin and Litecoin during 2013 and 2014 but then switched back to BTC and XMR — probably because these cryptocurrencies are more profitable, as suggested by the researchers. According to a McAfee study published in December 2018, the malicious mining cases increased by more than 4,000% during last year.
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