Cryptojacking – Meaning, How It Works And How To Prevent Cryptojacking
Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. It operates independently of a central bank and can be transferred directly between individuals without the need for intermediaries. One of the most well-known cryptocurrencies is Bitcoin, but there are many others in circulation.
While cryptocurrencies have many potential benefits, they have also been associated with illegal activities such as money laundering and cybercrime. One such example is cryptojacking, which is the unauthorized use of someone’s computer or device to mine cryptocurrency.
In this article, we will explore what cryptojacking is, how it works, and what you can do to protect yourself from it.
What Is Cryptojacking?
Cryptojacking is a method used by cybercriminals to mine cryptocurrency by secretly using other people’s devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets or servers. This is done without the owner’s knowledge or consent.
Instead of investing in expensive equipment to mine cryptocurrency, hackers use cryptojacking to steal computing resources from others, allowing them to compete with more sophisticated mining operations without incurring the same costs.
The victim of cryptojacking may not be aware of the attack, as the software used is designed to remain hidden. However, the theft of computing resources can cause the device to slow down, increase electricity bills and shorten its lifespan.
Certain red flags may indicate cryptojacking, such as a slower device or an unusually active cooling fan. The motivation behind cryptojacking is financial gain, as mining cryptocurrency can be very profitable, but the costs can be high.
For individuals with limited resources and questionable morals, cryptojacking is a cheap and effective way to mine valuable coins.
How Does Cryptojacking Work?
Cryptojacking can be carried out using different methods. One of the methods is similar to classic malware where a malicious link is clicked, and the cryptomining code is loaded onto the computer. The cryptojacker then mines cryptocurrency on the infected computer, remaining hidden in the background.
However, more malicious versions of drive-by cryptomining do not ask for permission and continue to mine even after the user has left the site. This is a common technique used by hackers who have compromised legitimate sites or owners of dubious sites.
Drive-by cryptomining can also infect Android mobile devices, and some attacks occur through a Trojan hidden in downloaded apps. Cryptojacking scripts do not damage computers or victims’ data, but they steal CPU resources, which can lead to slower computer performance and real costs for larger organizations, such as increased electricity bills and IT labor costs.
How Do I Protect Myself From Cryptojacking?
It can be challenging to detect cryptojacking on your computer, whether it was done locally or through the browser, as the process may hide itself or appear as something legitimate. The high CPU usage resulting from cryptojacking can also slow down your computer, making it harder to troubleshoot.
However, a more comprehensive cybersecurity program like Malwarebytes Premium is recommended to protect against various online threats, including cryptojacking, malware, and ransomware.
With Malwarebytes Premium, you can detect and clean up any intrusion and ensure your computer resources remain secure. As the threat landscape constantly evolves, staying safe requires continuous vigilance.