Cryptojacking is rapidly emerging as the latest cyber threat as the use of cryptocurrency rises, according to research.

The latest Internet Security Threat Report from cyber security company Symantec found over the past year detections of coinminers on endpoint computers had increased by 8500 per cent in 2017.

Symantec found with just a few lines of code, cybercriminals were harnessing stolen processing power and cloud CPU usage from consumers to mine cryptocurrency.

Coinminers can slow devices, overheat batteries and, in some cases, render devices unusable.

Advertisement

For companies, coinminers can put corporate networks at risk of shutdown and inflate cloud CPU usage, adding cost.

President and chief operating officer of Symantec Mike Fey said cryptojacking was a growing threat to cyber and personal security.

"The massive profit incentive puts people, devices and organisations at risk of unauthorised coinminers siphoning resources from their systems, further motivating criminals to infiltrate everything from home PCs to giant data centres."

Internet of Things (IoT) devices continued to be targets for exploitation with the report showing a 600 per cent increase in attacks last year.

Symantec Security Response director Kevin Haley said the connected nature of these devices posed a larger threat as cyber criminals could exploit this to mine en masse.

"Now you could be fighting for resources on your phone, computer or IoT device as attackers use them for profit," said Haley.

"People need to expand their defences or they will pay for the price for someone else using their device."

Mac computers were also not immune with an 80 per cent increase in coin mining attacks against Mac OS last year.

Advertisement