For the last few years, ransomware infections have been the bane of Windows user’s lives.

Get one of these nasty infections and it will silently encrypt the data on your hard drive. The first you’ll know about it is when you turn your PC on and find you can no longer access Windows or any of your programs.

Instead, you see a message telling you that you must pay a ransom in order to get your data back. Unless you have a recent backup of your data, this is your only chance of recovering your important files and then you cannot guarantee that hackers will actually keep up their end of the bargain.
So, it's great news that these kinds of infection are on the decrease.

While it's true that the latest anti-virus software and operating system updates are making these kinds of attack more difficult, the decline unfortunately isn't due to mass arrests of the cybercriminals behind these attacks.

Instead, the crooks have found a new and simpler way to steal. They've switched to installing cryptocurrency mining software on the PCs of unsuspecting users.

These infections steal the processing power of PCs to generate digital currencies using so-called mining algorithms.

And the reasons the crooks are making the switch are clear. For example, security researchers have uncovered a botnet called Smominru, which consisted of over 500,000 infected Windows machines.

The researchers calculated that this network was making its controllers around $8,500 per day in mined cryptocurrency.

When you're making money like that, why bother running the risk of arrest by trying to blackmail people.

Especially since most of the people infected with a cryptominer malware infection won't even know their computer has been compromised.

That means that the hackers can simply sit back and watch the money roll in, without having to worry about a knock on the door from a law enforcement agency.

To make sure that you stay safe and don't unwittingly donate your PC's performance to these crooks, the best advice, as always, is to make sure that your anti-virus software is up-to-date and that you regularly use it to scan your PC.

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