What is Cryptojacking?

Cryptojacking is a threat that embeds itself in a computer or mobile device and then uses its resources to mine cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency is digital or virtual money that is in the form of tokens or “coins”. The best known is Bitcoin, but there are roughly 3,000 other forms of cryptocurrency, and while some cryptocurrencies have made their way into the physical world via credit cards or other projects, most are still virtual.

How does cryptojacking work?

Cybercriminals hack into devices to install cryptojacking software. The software works in the background, mining cryptocurrencies or stealing cryptocurrency wallets. Unsuspecting victims are using their devices normally, although they may experience slower performance or lag. Top ways to have a victim’s device secretly mine cryptocurrency: 

  • By having the victim click a malicious link in an email that uploads the cryptocurrency mining code to the computer. 
  • By infecting a website or online ad with JavaScript code that performs its function once uploaded in the victim’s browser.

Hackers usually use both methods to maximize their gains. In both cases, the code places the cryptojacking script on the device that runs in the background while the victim works. Whichever method is used, the script performs complex math problems on victims’ devices and sends the results to a server controlled by the hacker.

Unlike other types of malware, cryptojacking scripts do not harm victims’ computers or data. However, they are stealing your computer’s processing resources. This makes them harder to identify and remove. These scripts can also check whether the device is already infected by competing crypto-mining malware. If another crypto miner is detected, the script deactivates it.

Malicious versions of cryptomining, which is cryptojacking, don’t ask for permission and continue to run long after you’ve left the original site. This is a technique used by dubious website owners or hackers who have compromised legitimate websites. Users have no idea that a website they were visiting used their computer to mine cryptocurrencies. The code only uses so many system resources that it is inconspicuous. Although the user thinks the visible browser windows are closed, a hidden one remains open. to fit under the system tray or behind the clock.

Cryptojacking can even infect Android mobile devices using the same methods that apply to desktops. Some attacks are done via a hidden Trojan horse in a downloaded application, where users’ phones can be redirected to an infected site, leaving behind a persistent pop-under running in the background. 

Although it is difficult to recognize when your computer system was committed by Cryptyacking, there are some preventive measures that you can take to protect your computer and network systems as well as your crypto-assets.

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