Avast: 77% of Indians are afraid of cryptomining malware infecting their devices

Chennai, June 21, 2018: According to new research from Avast, the global leader in digital security products, almost one fourth (23%) of consumers in India are unconcerned about cryptomining malware infecting their personal and smart home devices. Among this group, a 39% mistakenly believe that cryptomining malware cannot affect them as they don’t own or mine cryptocurrencies themselves.

The researchwas carried out to better understand public perceptions and knowledge ofcryptomining - the malicious process of covertly mining cryptocoins usingmalware planted on an individual’s device. Two-thirds (66%) of Indian consumerssaid they have heard of malware or infected websites mining cryptocurrencies. Thefindings suggest that Indian consumers adopt an apathetic attitude towardsmalicious cryptomining and knowledge of the threat is low. This is despite 77%of respondents admitting that they are familiar with digital currencies. 

Over thepast 12 months, coin-mining malware has evolved in sophistication and breadth.What was once a cyber threat directed towards PCs has fast become a major riskto smartphones and the complex ecosystem of IoT devices. 

In order tobe effective and profitable, cryptomining requires large amount of computerpower. And since the costs involved in mining are high and the CPU power of PCsand smartphones low, cybercriminals are attempting to hijack networks ofconnected devices known as botnets to maximise profit. For victims, this canmean higher energy bills, lost productivity, poor device performance andshorter device lifespans. A compromised machine can also increase the risk ofpersonal data theft. 

“We areseeing a significant increase in cybercriminals recruiting Internet of Things(IoT) devices and smartphones to botnets with the intention to minecryptocoins. The malware can run surreptitiously in the background on any smartdevice - it doesn’t matter if the victim owns a cryptocurrency or not. AtAvast, our goal is to dispel the myths associated with malicious cryptominingand educate people about the risks to personal data and device performance,”said Martin Hron, Security Researcher at Avast. 

“Typically,PC users can tell whether their computer is part of a botnet as it tends torespond slower than usual, heat up or distribute suspicious traffic. With IoTdevices like a smart fridge or personal assistant, the symptoms are not soobvious. Users need security solutions that monitor traffic and behaviour andalert them when something is wrong.” 

There havebeen a few cases where websites have offered visitors the choice betweenviewing ads or mining cryptocurrencies in the background. Half of users in theIndia said they would choose cryptomining for an ad-free online experience. 

PC andsmartphone users can implement a free antivirus solution like Avast FreeAntivirus for desktop computers or Avast Mobile Security for Android devices.Avast will also launch Smart Home Security later this year which is based onAvast’s IoT security platform Smart Life and provides consumers with AI-basedprotection and visibility into activity on their home network. 

Avastconducted the survey in April 2018. Over 1,020 PC users were polled. Almostone-fifth (19%) own or invest in cryptocoins and 37% are planning to invest incryptocoins.


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