Bitcoin price surge and impact on crypto-criminals

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According to a new study by global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, the rise in lucrative profits to be made in crypto-mining has led to cyber criminals using their computing resources to mine cryptocurrencies instead of launching DDoS attacks.

Interestingly, the number of DDoS attacks in Q4 2020 dropped by 31 per cent from the previous quarter, in line with the fact that cryptocurrency prices actually started to warm up.

Kaspersky’s experts suspect that cyber criminals might have “re-profiled” some botnets so that C&C servers, usually used in DDoS attacks, can re-profile infected computers and use their computing power to mine cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin’s rising prices, combined with a rise in transaction fees, have contributed to mining profits going through the roof and far exceeding their cost of production.

In fact, recent reports have reported that day-to-day mining sales now amount to more than $50 million, with Bitcoin mining stocks mounting dramatically late as well.

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It should be remembered, however, that this was not always the case, as seen in the case of the mining company Marathon Patent Group in Bitcoin. Until more recently, Marathon’s operations were not completely profitable, with an operating loss of $2 million for the last year.

Unfortunately, since then, Marathon’s stock price has increased by more than 300 per cent, especially after crypto-profits fueled a complete turnaround in revenues.

In line with Marathon’s operational performance, Kaspersky Security Network statistics also showed a similar pattern. Although the years 2019 and 2020 were marked by a decrease in the number of crypto-miners, September 2020 has brought about a reversal in this trend, with the same pattern since then.

According to Alexey Kiselev, Business Development Manager for the Kaspersky DDoS Security Team,

“With a spike in cryptocurrency prices, it may be more profitable for them to infect some devices with. As a result, we see that the total number of DDoS attacks in Q4 remained quite stable.”

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