The more systems a botnet has managed to compromise, the more computing power it has. So, it can easily solve complicated mathematical problems to earn cryptocurrencies in return.
ProofPoint, a California-based cybersecurity company, estimates that a single botnet has mined $3.6 million in Monero cryptocurrency for hackers. Monero is a popular virtual coin in the cybercrime world as it was designed to keep traders anonymous.
ProofPoint senior analyst Kevin Epstein underlined that, over the last several months, criminals have turned their attention to cryptocurrencies and illegal means of obtaining them to prevent law enforcement from interfering.
Botnets Infecting Hundreds of Thousands of Computers Worldwide
One of the largest botnets, also known as Smominru Monero, was used to mine Monero. The malware was quite powerful with more than half million nodes or computers in its network at peak. Epstein explained that this gigantic botnet is overwhelmingly made of Microsoft Windows servers scattered around the planet.
Researchers found that the botnet was spread through global infections spurred by exploits like EternalBlue and several ransomware attacks in the last two years. Shutting down Smominru Monero is very hard because its network is very vast and its creators really persistent.
Companies should patch their computers and use layered security solutions to prevent such infections. The measures should be set in place especially when it comes to critical infrastructure.
Following Proofpoint’s report, about 30% of the botnet was taken offline. Experts warned, though, that the botnet is not dead and still very active globally.
Image Source: Defense.gov