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Cryptocurrency hijacking goes 'through the roof' in Sweden

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Cryptocurrency hijacking goes 'through the roof' in Sweden
The virus is on the decline, but crypto-jacking is growing. Photo: Lise Åserud/ NTB Scanpix/TT
08:01 CET+01:00
There has been a surge in cybercriminals hijacking computers to mine cryptocurrency in Sweden, in a practice known has crypto-jacking which is taking over viruses in popularity.

The number of cyber security threats in general is increasing each year, as well as the number of methods to access data illegally, exploit computer power and extort money, according to cyber security firm Symantec.

In the past ransomware was the favoured method – infecting a computer and making it unusable until the owner pays a fee, but the extortion rate there has now started to decline.

In parallel, the surge in interest in cryptocurrency since 2017 has led to the phenomenon of crypto-jacking, which increased 8,500 percent last year according to Symantec.

It involves stealing computer processing power through malware to mine cryptocurrency. Fraudsters profit by using the power of other computers through the internet to increase the amount of cryptocurrency they can mine and therefore make money from.

READ ALSO: Sweden predicted to become first country with own cryptocurrency

In Sweden there was a surge of 10,000 percent in the last quarter 2017 – twice the global growth rate for the period.

"It has just gone through the roof. I've never seen such a big change in the short term," Symantec security expert Ola Rehnberg told news agency TT.

There is increasing potential to earn money through the method, which is likely why it is on the increase, Symantec noted. The propensity to report the crime as well as the police clearance rate is also low.

The cyber-security firm has at the same time seen an increase in bank trojans, which it believes is linked to cryptojacking, and will grow over 2018.

READ ALSO: Swedish cryptocurrency coming soon but cash still needed, Riksbank head says

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