One of the popular ways that cyber criminals make money these days is by leveraging mining malware that hijacks computer systems and uses their resources to stealthily mine cryptocurrency. The latest of these to make the press is “Crackonosh,” a malware that’s being hidden in cracked/pirated versions of popular games (e.g., Grand Theft Auto V and Far Cry 5) that are available via torrent sites. Research from antivirus company Avast has revealed that Crackonosh has allowed cyber criminals to reap as much as $2 million in profit since June 2018 after mining 9,000 monero (XMR)—a decentralized cryptocurrency that’s best known for being untraceable. Monero is currently around $200 per coin.
Some 220,000 users have been infected worldwide and 800 devices are being infected every day, according to Benes. However, Avast only detects malicious software on devices that have its antivirus software installed so the actual number could be significantly higher. Brazil, India and the Philippines are among the worst affected countries, while the U.S. has also seen many cases.