How Criminals Are Mining for Free: Measuring the Crypto-Mining-Malware Ecosystem

Illicit crypto mining uses stolen resources to mine cryptocurrencies for free. This threat is now pervasive and growing rapidly. In this talk, I will cover how this ecosystem is evolving, how much harm it is causing, and how can it be stopped. I will talk about the findings obtained after conducting the largest measurement of binary-based criminal crypto-mining to date. This measurement shows that criminals have illicitly mined about 4.32% of the Monero cryptocurrency (we estimate that this accounts for 57 million USD). We also observe that there is a considerably small number of actors that hold sway this crime. Furthermore, we note that there is an increasing level of support offered by criminals in underground markets, that allow other criminals to run inexpensive malware-driven mining campaigns. This explains why this threat has grown sharply in 2018. Guillermo Suarez-Tangil is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at King's College London (KCL). His research focuses on systems security and malware analysis and detection. He is also interested in detecting and preventing of Mass-Marketing Fraud (MMF) and security and privacy in the social web.

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