Cryptojacking is a type of cybercrime that has been around for a few years which involves exploiting user's bandwidth and processing power to mine cryptocurrencies without their knowledge.
The process is taxing on users' devices, router and servers, and often leads to overheating, slowdown of devices and higher electricity costs.
There are Two Types of Cryptojacking
Filed Based Cryptojacking
Hackers attack users by getting them to click on malicious links that load a mining code onto their devices. The code can hack into GPU and CPU devices, which they can then use to mine cryptocurrencies. Hackers leave little evidence behind and it’s extremely difficult to identify the perpetrators.
Browser Based Cryptojacking
Browser based hijacking is becoming a more common method of cryptojacking. It involves hackers identifying vulnerable websites and hiding malicious code on them, often unbeknown to the owners.
Once it has been set up, as long as the browser is open, the user becomes the processing power for the mining. The mined cryptocurrency is deposited directly into the account of the attacker, while the cost of mining, electricity, and computer wear and tear becomes the user's problem.
Related Reading: Is USB Mining The Way Forward for Mining Bitcoin?
Reasons for Increase in Cryptojacking
Cryptojacking is seen as an easy and efficient way to generate an income with relatively no effort. Hackers simply have to install a code onto the website.
Since resources are being stolen instead of data, some companies have been slow to act as they don’t fully understand the risks and expenses associated with cryptojacking.
Cryptojacking detection is difficult as it is a particularly stealthy form of hacking. Most users don’t notice their devices performing more slowly, overheating or the added electricity bills. When victims do eventually notice, many fail to make the connection to cryptojacking.
How to Prevent Cryptojacking
Cybersecurity experts recommend the use of strong passwords and for users to download apps and software carefully, and block anything that looks malicious.
Anti-Virus software should be up to date and it's also advised to update Windows software frequently to prevent vulnerabilities.
Anti-mining extensions such as, minerBlock, block cryptocurrency miners all over the web. They serve to not only block flagged requests and scripts but can also detect potential mining behavior inside loaded scripts and kills them immediately.
Cryptojacking is continuing to see a rise, especially, in browser trafficking. Due to the nature of the attack, many victims remain unaware. Some individuals would argue it is a victimless crime since processing power is being stolen and not data. However, this argument does not take into consideration the damage mining could do on the victims' devices due to the high usage of processing power.
Author: Ronan Mullaney