Cryptomining malware has emerged as a serious cyberthreat after going through a period of "stunning" growth this year, according to McAfee.
The security vendor claimed that the number of cryptomining malware samples grew 629 per cent to 2.9 million in Q1 this year, before growing a further 86 per cent in Q2.
Mining is the term used to describe the process through which new cryptocurrency is released (similar to when a government prints new currency notes).
Miners use specialist computers to verify and process cryptocurrency transactions and prevent fraud, which involves solving complex computational problems.
As a reward for their efforts they are paid in cryptocurrency, which introduces new money to the network.
Cryptocurrency malware hijacks a user's machine without their knowing to use its power to mine for this process.
Raj Samani, chief scientist at McAfee, said: "Cybercrime is a business; and market forces, such as the rise in cryptocurrency values, will continue to shape where adversaries focus their efforts.
"Exploiting cryptomining malware is simpler, more straightforward, and less risky than traditional cybercrime activities - causing these schemes to skyrocket in popularity over the last few months. In fact, cryptomining malware has quickly emerged as a major player on the threat landscape.
"To keep cryptocriminals at bay, businesses must find the right combination of people, process and technology to effectively protect their assets, detect cryptomining threats and, when targeted, rapidly correct systems - across both cloud and on-premise."
McAfee said that this form of malware predominately targets PCs, but new strains have started to target Android smartphones and other internet-connected devices.
The vendor also claims that the success of the WannaCry and NotPetya attacks has seen an increase in malware targeting software exploits, with new samples of these increasing 151 per cent in Q2.
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