Cryptojacking (also called malicious cryptocurrency mining) is an emerging online threat that hides on a computer or mobile device and uses the machine’s resources to “mine” cryptocurrency. While this form of “hacking” was more popular back in 2017 and 2018, it is still very popular today.
In this article, you will discover what cryptojacking is and how it can maliciously infect someone’s computer or smartphone. We also talk about the methods you can follow to deal with cryptojacking and how to prevent it before it occurs.
Be it that you decide to buy Ethereum (for example on Paybis.com), Bitcoin, Litecoin, or others, knowing how to avoid such situations can help you increase the security of your funds. To help you achieve this, this article is going to show you how to prevent hackers from stealing your assets as well. Having said that, let’s delve in!
Are Cryptocurrencies Digital Money? – Understanding the Nature of Digital Assets
Unlike traditional currencies, cryptocurrencies are not regulated by a specific government or financial institution. Hence, there is no government oversight or central regulator when it comes to cryptocurrencies.
The database behind any cryptocurrency works like a digital and immutable ledger (blockchain). Blockchain technology uses encryption to control the creation of new currencies and verify the transfer of funds, and the peers involved in the transaction always remain anonymous.
The decentralized and anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies means that there is no controlling body to decide how many coins to put into circulation. Instead, the way most cryptocurrencies enter the market is through a process called “mining.”
In crypto mining, the first miner to solve the encrypted problem within a block receives a prize, usually a share of the newly mined asset. This approach was specially developed as an incentive for those who sacrifice time and computing power to validate a blockchain network while issuing mining new coins or tokens.
As the complexity of each block puzzle’s calculations has steadily increased over the years (especially for Bitcoin), many miners realized that even sophisticated PCs with powerful processing units couldn’t mine profitably enough to cover the costs involved.
What is Cryptojacking? – Much More Than a Simple Scam
Cryptojacking is a scheme in which a hacker (cryptojacker) uses other people’s devices (computers, smartphones, tablets, or even servers), without their consent or knowledge, to secretly mine cryptocurrency at the victim’s expense.
Rather than investing their own resources to build a proper crypto mining computer with all required hardware, these malicious hackers use cryptojacking to steal resources from victims’ devices.
This way, hackers can compete with sophisticated cryptocurrency mining operations without having to pay for all the costs involved.
If you’re a victim of cryptojacking, you might not realize it. Unfortunately, most cryptojacking software are designed to be hidden from users, but that doesn’t mean they are not working to steal someone’s computing power.
Accordingly, cryptojacking slows down the victim’s computing processes, increases their electricity bill, and shortens the life of their devices. Depending on how subtle the attack is, a victim may be able to identify some warnings.
The reason behind cryptojacking is simple – to get money illegally. Mining cryptocurrencies can be very profitable, but making a profit is nearly impossible without the means to cover the large expenses involved.
However, for a person with limited resources and questionable morals, cryptojacking is an efficient and inexpensive way to mine valuable cryptocurrencies.
Is it dangerous for my device?
Cryptojacking is not necessarily dangerous for your device or your funds. Cybercriminals that “highjack” your device simply use its computational power to run their mining software in the background without getting access to any sensitive files or cryptocurrency wallets.
That said, remember that there are still drawbacks to keep in mind. The biggest of course is the decrease in your device’s performance, which will become noticeable in time. Apart from that, another drawback to keep in mind is the disruption of your privacy, which for many people is important.
Next, let’s take a look at the realistic possibility of falling victim to cryptojacking and a few facts about the history of such issues.
What Are the Chances of Suffering a Cryptojacking Attack?
Although cryptojacking is a relatively new type of hacking, it is already one of the most common online threats. Multiple people fell victims to these types of attacks during 2017 and 2018, but we can also see the issue occur regularly today.
Teams specializing in identifying this type of misconduct have identified attacks of this type happening since September 2017, which matches with the period when cryptocurrencies started to become better known by the mainstream public.
In an article published in October 2017, Fortune magazine suggested that cryptojacking is the next big security threat in the crypto industry, pointing out that users need to be careful of their devices. Subsequently, there was a 4000% increase in Android-based cryptojacking malware detections in the first quarter of 2018. Naturally, in time, the number of cryptojacking victims has decreased and today it is rather rare to observe it.
Is it Possible to Prevent Crypto Jacking? – Feasible Solutions
The next option includes programs such as “No Coin” and “MinerBlock,” which block mining activities in popular browsers. The two extensions work for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Newer versions of browser Opera even have NoCoin built-in versions. However, the best approach is to avoid specific integrated solutions and look for a more comprehensive cybersecurity program.
If you think you’re suffering cryptojacking, seek guidance from a cybersecurity expert to avoid not only cryptojacking, but also malware, ransomware, and other online threats. Aside from that, you can also check online guides that take you through the process of discovering and dealing with these issues.
Regardless of whether hackers try to use malware, browser-based drive-by downloads, or Trojans, a comprehensive cybersecurity approach will keep you safe from cryptojacking. As always, you will need to do a little bit of due diligence before you are able to get started.
Unfortunately, many individuals around the world have become victims of cryptojacking. While there are solutions to prevent a potential attack, crypto enthusiasts must be careful when mining, buying/selling, and storing their digital assets.
This happens primarily by getting the correct information before delving into the world of crypto, as well as using software to prevent unfortunate circumstances. In this article we analysed several options that you can follow to understand if you’ve been a victim and also how to resolve the issue.
As a final note to close this article, it is important to always review the collection of your downloaded software on regular timeframes to better understand if something is not right with your desktop or mobile device. This can easily be done through the settings of your computer. Every device has different settings so make sure you get the proper information for your device.