Understanding Illicit Cryptocurrency Mining: Threats and Best Practices for Prevention

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Anything that has significant monetary value eventually attracts criminal activity. Such is the case with cryptocurrency, which since its earliest days has played a role in everything from the online purchases of illegal items to ransom demands from the bad actors behind ransomware attacks.

More recently we’ve witnessed the rise of illicit cryptocurrency mining, also known as cryptojacking, most cases of which are carried out with unsophisticated infrastructure and attack in place where vulnerabilities are known and patches are readily available. A malicious actor favoring cryptocurrency mining techniques can make a tidy profit if he or she knows where to look and wants to test what, for many, is a still-limited understanding of the threat’s significance.

Today the Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA) released “The Illicit Cryptocurrency Mining Threat,” a Joint Analysis paper describing the current state of the cryptocurrency mining threat, its potential impact to enterprises and individuals, and best practices all organizations should use to counter it. As a founding member of the CTA, whose mission it is to work together in good faith to share actionable cyber threat intelligence, Palo Alto Networks is pleased to include our research and analysis alongside other CTA members.

We expect this to remain a hot topic in the coming months. As the Joint Analysis notes:

Illicit mining shows no signs of being just a phase for threat actors but will likely be a continuous and nearly effortless approach to revenue generation. As enterprises experiment with the use of blockchain technologies to conduct business operations, illicit mining outside of cryptocurrencies may itself become a disruptive risk that enterprises must mitigate.”

Get your copy of the CTA’s Joint Analysis on Illicit Cryptocurrency Mining here, along with a Key Facts sheet. And for all Palo Alto Networks Unit 42 research related to cryptocurrency mining, head here.


The post Understanding Illicit Cryptocurrency Mining: Threats and Best Practices for Prevention appeared first on Palo Alto Networks Blog.

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Palo Alto Networks is the next-generation security company maintaining trust in the digital age by helping tens of thousands of organizations worldwide prevent cyber breaches. With our deep cybersecurity expertise, commitment to innovation, and game-changing Next-Generation Security Platform, customers can confidently pursue a digital-first strategy and embark on new technology initiatives, such as cloud and mobility. This kind of thinking and know-how helps customer organizations grow their business and empower employees all while maintaining complete visibility and the control needed to protect their critical control systems and most valued data assets. Our platform was built from the ground up for breach prevention, with threat information shared across security functions system-wide, and designed to operate in increasingly mobile, modern networks. By combining network, cloud and endpoint security with advanced threat intelligence in a natively integrated security platform, we safely enable all applications and deliver highly automated, preventive protection against cyberthreats at all stages in the attack lifecycle without compromising performance. Customers benefit from superior security to what legacy or point products provide and realize a better total cost of ownership.
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