Thailand Riddled With Crypto Mining Malware

A new analysis has found that Thailand has the most XMRig-based cryptocurrency mining malware infections out of any other country on the planet.

New research by Palo Alto Networks reveals that Thailand is the country with the highest number of malware infections in Monero mining equipment. The figure exceeds 3.5 million, which means that one out of every 20 people in the country is currently using systems that mine Monero for hackers and doesn’t even know it.

Monero miners and hackers who infect computers mining the cryptocurrency have one thing in common: both groups are familiar with the XMRig software. Although not a piece of malware per se, it is often used as a payload for viruses with the intention of mining without the knowledge or consent of the victim.

The extent of the problem in Thailand is highlighted by the enormous gap between the country and the runner-up, Vietnam. According to the report, Vietnam currently has only 1.8 million infected systems. With a population of 98 million people, the infection rate isn’t nearly as high as Thailand’s.

Ordered by the number of infected computers, the list continues with Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey, Peru, Algeria, Brazil, Philippines, and Venezuela.

“Taking all those points together, this operation is very large and clearly very effective. It shows how attackers are aggressively focusing their operations and campaigns on generating and acquiring cryptocurrency,” the report reads.

It’s not the first time we have seen cryptocurrency-related attacks growing in sophistication and breadth.

Hijacking websites seems to be another favorite modus operandi for hackers willing to do whatever it takes for a quick buck.

A large number of personal WordPress sites have been attacked in such a manner, making their visitors use their CPUs to mine Monero.

Perhaps the prime example of this type of attack is the coinjacking incident on streaming websites that saw a total of one billion monthly visitors exploited in this way.

These situations continue to prove that hackers are adapting their methods to make them profitable rather than simply engaging in attacks for reasons like vengefulness or mere boredom.