Malicious programs for hidden mining are most widespread in Sri Lanka and India, Microsoft found.

Microsoft researchers published its Security Endpoint Threat Report 2019. According to the document, Sri Lanka emerged as the leader, with India ranked second among the countries with the highest rates of cryptocurrency mining encounters. India recorded a cryptocurrency mining encounter rate that was 4.6 times higher and drive-by download attack volume that was three times higher than the regional and global average. At the same time, compared to 2018, the level of cryptojacking decreased by 35%.

“While recent fluctuations in cryptocurrency value and the increased time required to generate cryptocurrency have resulted in attackers refocusing their efforts, they continue to exploit markets with low cyber awareness,” explained Keshav Dhakad, group head and assistant general counsel-corporate, external and legal affairs at Microsoft India.

The results were based on an analysis of a variety of data sources, including eight trillion threat signals received and analyzed by Microsoft every day, covering a 12-month period, from January to December 2019.

According to the report, in the Asia-Pacific region, the frequency of encounters with malware and ransomware continues to exceed the global average by 1.6-1.7 times. At the same time, the number of malicious programs and ransomware itself in 2019 decreased by 35% and 29%, respectively.

“While overall cyber hygiene in India has improved, we believe there is more to be done. Typically, high malware encounters are a result of excessive usage of unlicensed or pirated software, and proliferation of sites that illegitimately offer free software or content, such as video streaming. Consumer education is important – users should regularly patch and update programs and devices and be able to identify unsafe websites and illegitimate software.”