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Cryptojacking reduced by 78% thanks to Interpol and Trend Micro operation

Elliot Hill

Cryptojacking has been successfully reduced by up to 78% in Singapore through a collaborative operation between security researchers Trend Micro and international criminal police agency Interpol.

Cryptojacking is a serious but largely undetected crime in which cybercriminals infect a victim’s computer with software that secretly mines cryptocurrency in the background.

Most users with an infected machine have no idea that they’ve been targeted, and while the software doesn’t directly steal funds from the victims, it leads to increased energy usage and poor machine performance.

In 2018, Coin Rivet reported that overworked hard drives infected with crypto mining malware could reach temperatures hot enough to boil an egg.

Working a victim’s computer so hard can even lead to the premature failure of critical computing components.

The malware can even affect organisations and government agencies by bringing computing infrastructure to a standstill, and often incurs serious costs to identify and replace infected equipment.

Despite the seriousness of cryptojacking and its impact on users, the good news is that numbers of infected machines have declined since 2018, possibly due to enhanced methods of detection from the cybersecurity community.

Operation Goldfish Alpha

A press release published this week details how computer security research firm Trend Micro collaborated with Interpol during an investigation code-named ‘Operation Goldfish Alpha’, which sought to identify and mitigate instances of cryptojacking in Singapore.

The operation, which worked with police and authorities in over 10 countries, identified over 20,000 separate routers in the Singapore region that were infected with cryptojacking malware.

The agencies and researchers used Trend Micro’s ‘HouseCall’ detection system to successfully remove 78% of the malware from the infected devices.

It is hoped that the new collaboration will lead to more enhanced methods to stop cryptojacking in its tracks and slow the rate of crypto mining malware proliferation in the future across multiple jurisdictions.

Just last month, US authorities successfully apprehended and charged members of a Romanian cryptojacking gang who had used their software to infect over 400,000 machines, many belonging to US citizens.

You can find out more about cryptojacking and ways to protect your machine here.

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