Cryptocurrencies are the “futuristic invention” that came early to our day-to-day life. Promising a safe economic system… Then Cryptojacking proved they aren’t safe after all.
This type of threat isn’t exactly to steal cryptocurrencies out of someone’s wallet. Instead, is the act of using someone’s else computer power to mine for us (without the victim’s consent. Most times, going unnoticed).
Think about it… No install or opt-in required. Just load the site and code starts running.
How is this even possible?
How do Cryptojacking works?
First of all, to understand the process of Cryptojacking, you have to understand how cryptocurrency mining works.
Assuming that you know what cryptocurrencies are… Then the process to mine them is through transaction validations. Crypto’s economical system is decentralized, so no-one controls it.
On the other hand, miners themselves are responsible for their proper use.
All of it, done by their machines. But here’s the interesting part: miners get rewarded by their machine’s efforts to keep everything working as it should.
If its computer is the one who permits the proper update and functionality of the process, then he/she gets rewarded with digital money (sadly, not the computer).
So, the logic states that most powerful your computer is, and the most amount of them you run… Then, your chances of winning this “coding solving” contest increase considerably.
This can be seen as a lucrative business (because it is) but again, you need some over-exceeding power to get your piece of cake.
And hackers are known for wanting, not only a piece of cake but the whole cake for themselves.
But this cannot be done on every crypto coin on the market. Work-based Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Monero are the frequently exploited option.
Who discovered this smart exploit? It’s yet to be known.
But CoinHive has the merit as the first website to ever publicly announce they cryptojack reader’s PCs (with their consent). Although this practice was stopped in March 2019.
Other sites as The Pirate Bay tend to run this code in the background after the profit loss of their hunt down.
Of course, many hackers got inspired by it and started cryptojacking in 2 different ways.
A) Trick individual victims through phishing or similar methods: receive a message/email and click a link that executes the crypto mining code into their devices (they also target smartphones).
B) The other method is to inject a script on a website or an ad that is delivered to multiple websites. Once victims visit the website or the infected ad pops up in their browsers, the script automatically executes. No code is stored on the victims’ computers.
While they work great separately, hackers might use both for a better Return on Investment.
Especially when the script is modified to behave like a work (infecting other servers and devices).
Well… It depends.
Is Cryptojacking a Real Threat for You?
Devices with high-speed processors and memory are frequent targets of cryptojacking.
And although this type of malware is not as harmful as others, it can still affect your battery life and its overall performance.
Funny enough, there are some chances you won’t even notice it. Because it all depends on the execution requested by the code (sometimes cryptojackers may keep it running slowly to go unnoticed on a network of computers).
But this probably worries you a lot, doesn’t matter the power it takes from you.
You don’t want loudly sounds coming out of your whirring fan, which lets you someone is profiting from you.
It can be Avoided?
The good news is that yes… Cryptojacking can be prevented.
Second, and probably the simplest way to protect yourself, is by installing a cryptojacking blocker tool/extension. MinerBlock or NoCoin will block domains associated with this threat.
But don’t go to the other extreme of installing many protective browser extensions. Because some disguise as a Rogue Antivirus, and actually does more harm than good.
Third, use the Brave browser or a similar alternative that block Ads.
By the time you’re reading this (2020), over 3,000 cryptocurrencies have been created (Bitcoin being the 1st one ever). And it shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
With the increase in the different types of cryptocurrencies and their rise in value, cybercriminals shifted from ransomware to cryptojacking (lower risk + higher benefits).
Being said, it’s probable that you’re here because you’re aware of how they work and even cash from it.
Keep mining and cash peacefully every day of your life by having us protecting your back.