Through the looking glass: With cryptocurrency values dropping, will hackers move on to more lucrative attacks or continue to refine their cryptojacking techniques in hope of a rebound? Only time will tell.

Cryptocurrency malware has grown by more than 4,000 percent over the past year according to a recent report from McAfee Labs.

In its December 2018 edition of the McAfee Labs Threats Report (PDF), the security company highlights a sharp rise in coin miner malware in the first quarter of 2018. The trend appeared to taper off slightly in the second quarter but picked right back up in Q3, increasing nearly 40 percent quarter-over-quarter.

McAfee over the last few quarters has noticed a decline in new ransomware families, suggesting that bad actors are switching to the more lucrative model of cryptojacking. And it’s not just traditional computers that hackers are targeting.

IoT devices like IP cameras and even routers are being sought out due to their general lack of proper security controls. Such devices don’t have very powerful CPUs but in numbers, they can still generate a worthwhile return for hackers.

Malware in general has seen a steady and predictable increase over the past two years, a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. Campaigns evolve and targets change but data indicates that malicious software makers are staying a step or two ahead of the threat intelligence community.

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