With the increased number of crypto miners and crypto investors, there is a surge in cryptojacking frauds. Your device might be under threat too. If you are confused about what cryptocurrency, crypto mining, cryptojacking mean, let’s learn the terminologies first.
What is Cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that can be used to purchase goods or services. It is created by blockchain technology by combining computer programs and their processing power. The first cryptocurrency ever introduced is Bitcoin which has the highest market capitalization among cryptocurrencies to date. You can learn more about cryptocurrencies here.
What is Cryptomining?
Crypto mining is the process of adding a crypto transaction to the blockchain ledger using high-powered servers and specialized hardware. Unlike traditional banking systems that are centralized, cryptocurrencies are decentralized and distributed systems. When a transaction happens, the blockchain gets updated.
What is Cryptojacking?
Cryptojacking is an online threat in which the hacker targets the computing power of an individual’s device, without their consent, to mine on the behalf of the hacker. Such hackers can target businesses, individual consumers, institutions, etc.
Methods of cryptojacking
File based cryptojacking is the most common method of cyber threat. In this way, an e-mail containing a link is sent to the target user. When the user clicks the link, the code is executed that downloads the script on the device.
When hackers embed crypto scripts into various websites using a programming language, it is called browser based cryptojacking. Then the script runs automatically on the user’s device without the knowledge of the user.
The hackers search through an organization’s files for API keys to access their cloud services. Once they gain access, they use unlimited CPU resources of the organization for crypto mining.
Conditions of cryptojacking:
The hijacked devices compromise on their overall efficiency by the way of the following conditions:
- Decrease in performance
A decrease in the performance of your device (desktop, tablet or mobile) can be one of the early signs of cryptojacking.
- CPU Usage
You can monitor and analyze the central processing unit (CPU) on your own. If there is a heightened usage of CPU at a website with no or less media content, it is suspectable that crypto mining scripts might be running.
Cryptojacking can cause computing devices to overheat. Overheating can in turn lead to the shortening of the device’s lifespan and even damage it.
How to prevent cryptojacking?
Here are a few ways to protect against these types of attacks:
- Use Ad-Blockers
Cryptojacking scripts are commonly embedded in web ads. You can use ad blockers to detect and block cryptojacking scripts.
- Use Anti-Cryptomining extensions
There are specialized programs like No Coin, MinerBlock, etc that block mining activities on browsers. They have programs for many browsers- Chrome, Firefox and Opera.
- Train your team
If you have a team of employees in your organization, they should be aware of the early signs of the cyber-attack and steps to investigate.