Malicious crypto mining? College campuses and energy companies have highest crypto mining traffic in North America, based on a research done by Cisco.
Outdated systems, unsecured network, and free electricity. These are the probable reasons college campuses and the energy and utilities sector have the highest crypto mining traffic in North America.
Researches at Cisco have been monitoring cryptocurrency mining activities and observed that college campuses produce the second highest traffic at 22 percent. The energy and utilities sector came in first at 34 percent.
Threat Analytics Researcher Austin McBride of Cisco Umbrella suggested that students might be taking advantage of the free electricity in college dorms:
“…So you can run your mining rig in your dorm or school library and not worry about those costs eating into your mining profitability…If you don’t have to pay for those costs, then you are in a really good spot for making money on the university’s dime.”
However, Cisco does not disregard the possibility of the said sectors as victims of malicious crypto mining.
In the case of the energy and utilities sector, McBride speculates that the companies still use old computers. Outdated systems are easy targets of mining malware. This explains how the sector produce the highest crypto mining traffic in the region.
“Some of the systems that run our grids and other utilities are purpose build and do not get software and hardware updates as frequently as a Mac or PC would…So, there is more of a potential for vulnerabilities being unpatched for some time and this makes it an attractive target.”
McBride, who presented at RSA this week, gave a quick overview of cryptojacking and discussed the impact of malicious crytpomining.
Meanwhile, crytpo mining-related traffic increased by 19 times in the last nine months of 2018, according to Cisco. Blockchain research firm Diar also reported that mining companies may slightly recover in the next months.
Chart from Cisco