Windows Defender Now Protects Against Cryptocurrency Mining

The miners are running amok! Microsoft is here with some new research showing just how much of a concern cryptocurrency mining has become lately. And how Windows 10 protects against it.

Or Windows Defender, rather.

As Redmond revealed in this study, mining for digital coins is gradually replacing other types of malware like ransomware. And a big reason for this is the increase in value of many of these cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin.

The software titan used the Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) in Windows Defender to collect and analyze information on these malicious coin mining attempts.

Finding that an average of 640,000 systems were compromised every month between September 2017 and January 2018. And the reason for this rise in numbers, this trend, is because cybercriminals can earn money faster than in case of other attacks.

Trojanized Coin Miners

As Microsoft puts it:

“Are these two trends related? Are cybercriminals shifting their focus to cryptocurrency miners as primary source of income? It’s not likely that cybercriminals will completely abandon ransomware operations any time soon, but the increase in trojanized cryptocurrency miners indicates that attackers are definitely exploring the possibilities of this newer method of illicitly earning money.”

So, then, how well is Windows 10 prepared against this new threat?

Microsoft says that crypto miners are often included in exploit kits, relying on complex approaches to compromise systems. And while Windows Defender has already been updated to block miners, the company also recommends some additional solutions.

Like turning to Windows 10 S in the enterprise where these miners can’t be deployed. This version of the OS is restricted to Store apps and Edge is the only web browser available for use.

This basically ensures that these systems are safe from the traditional cryptomining attacks.