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Crypto Malware: Protect Your Crypto from the Latest Cyber Threats

July 4, 2024

As the popularity of cryptocurrencies continues to rise, so does the sophistication and frequency of crypto-malware attacks. These malicious software threats can wreak havoc on your digital wallets, leading to significant financial losses and compromised security.

Crypto ransomware attacks are a subset of crypto scams in which malicious programs encrypt a computer and demand a ransom, often in cryptocurrency.

In this MystNodes guide, we'll explore crypto-malware, how it works, and the steps you can take to prevent crypto-malware attacks from affecting your devices and data.

What is Crypto Malware?

Crypto-malware is a form of malware that enables a threat actor to carry out crypto-jacking activity.

This type of malware can come in various forms, including crypto-mining malware, crypto-ransomware, and others that exploit your systems to steal or mine digital currency.

Unlike money, cryptocurrency is encrypted and decentralized, meaning it cannot be modified and has no central authority to manage it. While cryptocurrency can be used for legitimate purposes, it's also the currency of choice among cybercriminals, given its inability to be traced.

Do you know what the first cryptojacking worm is? It's Graboid, which spread through over 2,000 devices on the Docker Engine (Community Edition), an open-source containerization technology for building and containerizing applications on the cloud.

How Does Crypto Malware Work?

Crypto malware often gains initial access to a victim's system through phishing emails, a malicious website, or downloading software containing malicious code.

Once inside, the attackers can disable antivirus software, making it harder to detect and remove.

After gaining a foothold, the malware executes malicious code designed to encrypt files, mine cryptocurrency, or steal an infected device's online assets. This can lead to severe disruption, as the malware consumes significant resources like CPU usage and processing power.

Different Types of Crypto Malware

Here are the two different types of crypto-malware attacks.

Examples of crypto-malware attacks include WannaMine, PowerGhost, XMRig, Prometei Botnet, and Darkgate. WannaMine and PowerGhost are known for their cryptocurrency mining activities, while XMRig is often used to mine Monero unauthorizedly. Prometei Botnet is a sophisticated malware that combines mining with data theft, and Darkgate is notorious for its ransomware capabilities.

Crypto Mining Malware

Crypto mining malware, or cryptojacking, uses the victim's machine (such as the victim's computer) to mine cryptocurrency without the users consent.

This malware can infect computers, connected devices, and even large networks, significantly slowing down processing power and leading to higher electricity bills.

Crypto Ransomware

Crypto ransomware encrypts files on the victim's system and demands a ransom payment in digital currency to decrypt them.

This type of ransomware attack can be particularly devastating for businesses, leading to significant downtime and data loss.

Types of Cryptocurrency Scams

Common Methods of Infection

Below are the most common methods of malicious activity.

Phishing Emails and Email Attachments

Phishing emails, which attackers send to victims' devices, often contain malicious attachments or links to malicious websites. Once clicked, these executable programs can download software that infects the system with crypto-malware.

Malicious Sites and Downloads

Visiting a malicious website or downloading various files from untrusted sources can also lead to malware attacks and infected computers. These sites often deliver their payloads by exploiting known exploits in browsers and vulnerable systems.

Exploiting Vulnerabilities in Software

A disruptive virus can exploit vulnerabilities in legitimate software, such as outdated antivirus apps or operating systems that haven't been updated with the latest security patches.

Some crypto-miners use Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) to achieve longevity on a machine and persistently subscribe to events, allowing the malicious program to operate undetected.

The Impact of Crypto Malware Attacks

One of the most immediate impacts of crypto-malware is financial loss. Victims often receive a ransom note that instructs victims that they have to make ransom payments to regain access to their encrypted files or face the theft of their cryptocurrency.

System Performance Issues

Cryptomining malware can drastically reduce the system performance of the victim's device by consuming major resources. High CPU usage and processing power dedicated to mining cryptocurrencies can slow down or even crash the victim's device.

Ransomware attacks and other malware can lead to data breaches, compromising sensitive information and leading to severe privacy concerns.

Detecting Crypto Malware

Here's what you should know about how to detect cryptojacking attacks and prevent cybercriminals from harming your devices.

Look for signs of infection, such as unusually high CPU usage, slow system performance, and unexpected system crashes. An unexplained increase in electricity bills can also be a red flag for cryptojacking.

Use an antivirus service and other security tools to scan for and detect crypto malware. Programs like Task Manager and Activity Monitor can help identify suspicious processes consuming significant resources.

If you suspect that you may have fallen victim to crypto malware attacks, disconnect your device from the internet immediately to prevent further damage. Run a full system scan using reputable antivirus programs and follow the recommended steps to remove the malware.

Preventing Crypto Malware Infections

  • Regular Software Updates: Ensure all software, including the operating system and antivirus tool of your choice, is updated to the newest version.
  • Strong and Unique Passwords: Use unique passwords for different accounts and enable two-factor authentication where possible.
  • Safe Browsing Habits: Avoid clicking suspicious links, downloading files from untrusted sources, and visiting known malicious sites.

Invest in reputable antivirus programs and anti-malware tools. These programs can help detect and avoid crypto malware attacks by scanning for malicious files and blocking suspicious activity.

Stay informed about the latest cyber threats and educate your team on the importance of cybersecurity. Awareness and proactive measures are crucial in preventing crypto malware infections.

How to Avoid Cryptocurrency Scams

Responding to a Crypto Malware Attack

  • Disconnect from the Internet: This helps prevent the malware from communicating with its command-and-control servers.
  • Run a Full System Scan: Use antivirus software to detect and remove the malware.
  • Report the Attack: Inform relevant authorities and platforms about the attack to help prevent further incidents.

Ensure you have regular backups of essential data. These backups can be used to restore your system to a previous state in the event of a crypto-malware attack.

After dealing with the immediate threat, take steps to prevent future attacks. This includes strengthening your cybersecurity measures, educating your team, and keeping all software updated.

WannaCry: The Ransomware Attack That Shook the World in 2017

One of the most infamous cases of crypto-malware is the WannaCry ransomware attack in May 2017. WannaCry exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows using a leaked NSA tool called EternalBlue.

It rapidly spread across the globe, affecting over 230,000 computers in 150 countries. Victims' files were encrypted, and a ransom in Bitcoin was demanded for decryption.

The attack severely disrupted healthcare services, particularly the UK's National Health Service (NHS), causing widespread chaos and highlighting the critical need for robust cybersecurity measures and timely software updates.

Future Trends in Crypto Malware

As technology evolves, so do the tactics used by cybercriminals. Future threats include more sophisticated ransomware variants and new methods of cryptojacking, all thanks to AI and machine learning.

The future of crypto-malware and cybersecurity will likely see an arms race between cybercriminals and security experts. Staying informed and proactive will be vital to staying one step ahead.


Crypto malware is a significant threat to your digital assets, but with the proper knowledge and tools, you can protect yourself from these malicious software attacks.

By following best practices for digital security, staying informed about emerging threats, and using reputable antivirus software, you can prevent crypto malware attacks and keep your systems safe.


Meet Gintarė, the crypto-savvy wordsmith weaving digital tales! With a knack for turning technical jargon into captivating narratives, she's the maestro of the keyboard in the cyber realm. From decoding the complexities of blockchain to uncovering the latest passive income gems, Gintarė is your guide through the thrilling world of tech. With her keen eye for cybersecurity, she's not just a copywriter – she's your crypto confidante, making the digital frontier feel like home.

Frequently asked

How Do I Know if I Have Crypto Malware?

What Is an Example of Crypto Malware?

Is Crypto Malware the Same as Ransomware?

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