Cryptocurrencies have had a negative affect on many things: CI services (eg gitlab CI, github actions, Travis) have scaled down or stopped their free services due to cryptomining abuse. The existence of malware and browser-based cryptominers that use your computer to mine for someone else And the power consumption is high enough that it likely has climatological impact!
Recently in a push away from "proof of work" crypto, there are some new "proof of storage" currencies. What will the affect be? What new hacks/abuse will emerge?
- Free online storage providers will scale back/monetise their free offerings as people allocate their online space to generating them money. They've now gone from hosting free online storage to hosting streams/drips of free money. Even places that don't consider themselves storage will be attacked. What is the largest image you can upload to facebook? How about encoding data into a youtube video? Github/Gitlab take another hit. Pastebin gets hit by billions of 1Mb 'text' files. Archive.org is a huge target: wayback machine can be abused etc. etc.
- Malware that shrinks your computers main partition and allocates itself its own one. Maybe it uses free space on the Windows recovery partition, maybe it nukes your dual-boot-system accidentally. This helps it to hide it's usage of the disk.
- Malware that creates a large file with an important sounding name: 'libhiberfileaux.sys' or a common one you'd expect to be large: 'dvd-rip-2021-1080p-h264-the-avengers.mp4'. Could corrupt infrequently used files rather than creating new ones.
- Cellphones, NAS and raspberry-pi's are good targets. ARM silicon-level exploits appear, NAS firmware is cracked. Who knows, maybe the 1Mb available on routers, ESP-32's and other embedded devices is enough that if you can crack a million of them..... Antivirus software now watches for odd disk usage patterns. New versions of operating systems force you to acknowledge when a program is saving a file, or upon installation you allocate a program a certain amount of space. You can store data by getting computer A to send data to computer B over a high-latency connection. Two echo-servers in perpetual motion. 500ms world-round-trip-ping, a 10Gb/s connection = 5Gb stored in a bunch of router-caches/wires. You'd need some redundancy of the in-flight data to avoid needing to store it on either of your machines. Internet service quality goes way down while this attack plays out.
- A new wave of counterfeit ("WD new genuine sandisk 4TB 8TB 16TB") SD cards and flash drives appear on the market. Slow and really terrible flash becomes commonplace.
Time to back up your data and keep it offline. The worst cryptomining could do was waste power. Storage-mining will be more akin to a type of ransomware.