Cryptovaluta are nowadays a rage, but one of them seems to be used primarily in malware, namely Monero. But why?
It is actually amazing that Bitcoin has been in charge of the market for years now. With all the ‘lessons learned’ from Bitcoin and thousands of alternative currencies looking for market share, thenetwork effect of Bitcoin is slowly starting to decline. That is nothing new: the digital highway is littered with the remains of projects that have not changed with the needs of their audience. Although the network effect of an established digital currency makes it difficult to knock those of the throne, there are certainly competitors who are close to Bitcoin.
Monero in particular has a number of fascinating functions, at least viewed from a malware perspective. Because it has a privacy focus, with specific technology that offers stealth addressing and releasability based on what is called “ ring signatures “. With this implementation it is much more difficult to derive the true identity of a transactor, which is clearly important for criminals. Although vulnerabilities and fixes have been identified, the community seems to respond quickly and the Monero project has set up a security reporting / premium procedure.
What’s more, Monero is also practical if you do not have a hydropower / nuclear power plant to deliver the enormous computing power needed to mine Bitcoin in an advantageous way. Because Monero is still a relative newcomer, this means that it is still early in the difficulty levels of mines. According to Coin Market Watch, however, Monero is already around the top ten in the cryptocurrency rankings.
So while power plants and utilities will continue to feel the tension (jaja) of keeping the large crypto-mining installations in the air, Monero uses a proof-of-work based on CryptoNight. That all sounds very complicated, but it means that you can ‘mine’ Monero on computer hardware that many users have at home, at work or in a data center. Then it’s worth getting a Monero-mine on a computer via malware, because it really delivers something.
Since Bitcoin poses quite a few problems as a real currency, companies are now also experimenting with accepting other currencies. Initially viewed as little more than a techno-publicity stunt, accepting digital currency is no longer as crazy as a few years ago.
Add to that the wild speculation in cryptocurrency and then you have a market and a general public awareness that ensures that the trend in cryptocurrency will probably increase in the long term, or at any rate value.
Not everything revolves around Monero: some malware is simply aimed at stealing crypto wallets, regardless of which currency it is in, because that is easy to earn and sell. Monero is also popular there because of the far-reaching privacy as a seller and so the popularity continues to rise slowly. As long as the criminal circuit continues to opt for Monero (and the many variants of cryptojackingthat we have recently seen seem to support), it could be a good investment to include some of the cryptocurrency in to save – if you can keep them with you at least.