Researchers at Kaspersky Lab have uncovered a new form of cryptojacking malware targeting corporations in multiple countries, the cybersecurity firm reported Thursday.
PowerGhost, a form of fileless malware – which uses a system’s native processes to hijack a computer – has reportedly been spreading on corporate networks in India, Brazil, Colombia and Turkey. The software mines an undisclosed cryptocurrency once installed on a computer.
The miner “is capable of stealthily establishing itself in a system and spreading across large corporate networks infecting both workstations and servers,” Kaspersky reported.
Illicit crypto miners have been rapidly rising in popularity among the web’s criminal fraternity, being hidden in apps and websites to quietly harness user devices to earn the hackers cryptocurrency. Now it seems the methods they use are evolving.
“It appears the growing popularity and rates of cryptocurrencies have convinced the bad guys of the need to invest in new mining techniques – as our data demonstrates, miners are gradually replacing ransomware Trojans,” said Kaspersky.
Principal security researcher David Emm agreed, telling ZDNet:
“PowerGhost raises new concerns about crypto-mining software. The miner we examined indicates that targeting consumers is not enough for cybercriminals anymore – threat actors are now turning their attention to enterprises too. Cryptocurrency mining is set to become a huge threat to the business community.”
The firm’s report echoes concerns shared by other cybersecurity firms. Earlier this month, Skybox Security also stated that cryptojacking had become more popular among bad actors than ransomware.
At the time, Skybox called cryptojacking malware “a money-making safe haven for cybercriminals.”