Blockchain/crypto bus will hit a wall in 2019, Kaspersky Lab

Illegal mining of cryptocurrencies has increased dramatically to overtake the main threat of the last few years, ransomware, it says

Kaspersky Lab recorded a four-fold increase in cryptomining attacks in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) region from 3.5 million in 2017 to 13 million during 2018.

Cryptocurrencies have become an established part of many people’s lives, and a more attractive target for cybercriminals across the world, it notes. “The META region is becoming more appealing to cybercriminals, with financial and malicious cyrpotomining attacks taking centre stage. We discovered six new ATM malware families in 2018,” says Fabio Assolini, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

“On the other hand, illegal mining of cryptocurrencies has increased dramatically to overtake the main threat of the last few years: ransomware. We believe the reason behind this is that mining is silent and cause less impact that ransomware, making it less noticeable.”

As for 2019, the company believes that excessive expectations about the use of blockchain beyond the cryptocurrency sphere will disappear. This trend will be driven by people rather than the technology’s capability, as organisations and industries come to the conclusion that blockchain has a rather narrow scope of application, and most attempts to use in different ways are not justified. The reliable application of blockchain beyond cryptocurrency has been explored and experimented with for years, but there is little evidence of achievement. 2019 will be the year people stop trying, Kaspersky Lab reckons.

It also predicts that cryptocurrencies as a means of payment will decline. In 2017, a number of suppliers of goods and services announced that they would accept Bitcoin et al as a form of payment. However, in the face of huge commissions (an acute problem in December 2017), slow transfers, a large price for integration, and, most importantly, a small number of customers, its use as a method of payment declined steadily. Ultimately, the use of cryptocurrencies by a legitimate business simply does not make much sense, the company argues.

Until January 2018, there were immense highs and lows in the price of Bitcoin. This is not expected to return as the value of cryptocurrencies levels out to reflect their popularity. There is a finite audience for whom cryptocurrencies are of interest, and once that limit is reached, the price will not rise further, Kaspersky Lab concludes.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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