Indian users are 5x times more likely to suffer a cryptocurrency mining hack due to poor level of awareness, consistent with a new security report by Microsoft.
Within a recent official report published on 29th July, Microsoft revealed that although the number of similar attacks declined by 35% since last year in 2019 from now, Indians, along side Sri Lankans, remained at greater risk compared to other nationalities within the Asia Pacific region and elsewhere within the world.
Following such attacks, victims’ computers are infected with cryptocurrency mining malware, allowing criminals to leverage the computing power of their machines without the owner’s consent.
“While recent fluctuations in cryptocurrency value and therefore the increased time required to hack cryptocurrency have resulted in attackers refocusing their efforts, they still exploit markets with low cyber awareness,” said Keshav Dhakad, who heads the legal unit at Microsoft India.
Microsoft blamed free content streaming websites, unlicensed or pirated and free software, and a general lack of consumer education as key factors for the decline in cyber-security in India, the world’s 2nd most populous country, with over 1.35 Bln people.
The report also found that India recorded the third highest ransomware attacks throughout the region, which was twice above the regional average.
“While overall cyber hygiene in India has improved, we believe there’s more to be done,” Dhakad observed. “Consumer education is vital – users should regularly patch and update programs and devices and be ready to identify unsafe websites and illegitimate software,” he added.
Cyber criminals have also weaponized the coronavirus outbreak, adapting and upgrading attack methods, to steal from unsuspecting victims.
Since the outbreak, data has shown that each country within the world has seen atleast one COVID-19 themed attack, “and the number of such successful attacks in outbreak-hit countries is increasing, as fear and the desire for information grows,” said Microsoft.
The report’s findings are derived from an analysis of diverse Microsoft data sources, including over eight trillion threat signals received between January to December last year.
Ransomware attacks are reportedly costing businesses billions of dollars annually, mainly in blackmail payments. Earlier on 28th July, CWT, one among the leading travel companies within the U.S., paid 414 Bitcoin [BTC] or $4.5 Mln in bitcoin to hackers who hijacked the firm’s computing system, stealing personal corporate information.