As much doing business and earning money online sounds easy and time efficient, it might not be as safe as you might think. Cybercriminals are always looking for people doing a business of a large number of transactions on a regular basis. When they find one that lives up to their standard, they hack the businessperson’s computer and steal the money even before anyone could realize it.
One of the growing cyber attacks in recent years is Cryptojacking. To know more about the details of crypto jacking, one will have to know about cryptocurrency and how both are interrelated.
What is cryptocurrency and crypto jacking?
Cryptocurrency is a digital asset that works as a medium of exchange to secure financial transactions, control of additional units and verify the transfer of assets. The process of cryptocurrency uses strong cryptography for security. Even with the strongest of encryptions during cryptocurrency, transactions may not be safe enough. In simpler words, cryptocurrency is a digital currency.
Cryptojacking is the cyber attack where the hacker mines the cryptocurrency. It is the unauthorized usage of a computer by the cybercriminals that mine for the cryptocurrency using special mining software. It is very easy for the cybercriminals to steal cryptocurrency with only a single malicious software or website link.
How do cryptojacking works?
Picture this, you are surfing the internet, and suddenly you get a pop-up window with some messages that intrigues you to open the link. Now, if you are dealing with a business that includes a cryptocurrency transaction system, you should never open such suspicious pop-up windows. When you click on the pop-up window, it takes you to some website which further runs code in the background and in a matter of second your cryptocurrency will be all gone.
Malicious cryptojacking can infect any devices that run on software. The hackers are just waiting for a chance to hack the website. The cryptojacking is growing as the number of cryptocurrency holder grows too. One of the easiest ways for a cybercriminal to make money is by cryptojacking with minimal effort.
Here are a few of the ways how cryptojacking can happen:
If you open a seemingly harmless email and go to the link attached with it, it is like inviting crypto jackers to install the cryptocurrency mining software itself. Never open an email of the ones you don’t know the sender. Not only because of crypto jackers, one should not open any kind of malicious emails, if not cryptojacking, but there might also be some viruses and it could inject itself into your computer.
Web Browser Miner:
The second most popular tactic that crypto jackers use is Web Browser Miner, where they inject a crypto mining coding script into a website. These are mostly embedded within a nice looking advertisement pop-up. If your curious mind nags you to open the ad and you do; as they say, curiosity killed the cat, do not be surprised when all your cryptocurrency is no longer available. Once you click on the ads link, the scripts start executing automatically, and the crypto mining is in full progress even before you could think about it.
Cryptojacking malware can be found in multiple platforms, no matter what company device you use. The malpractice of cryptojacking is increasing every year, as the hackers see it as an easy technique to earn money, and also easier to run without getting detected for a very long time. It only needs a few lines of code to hijack someone else’s computer system.
There are few ways how you could detect if any cryptojacking program is running in the background of your computer system:
High processor usage:
When the processor on your device is used in a higher percentage, which means your computer’s brain is in use more than usual, then you should know that someone might be trying to hijack or already has hijacked into your system.
Slow response time:
When your CPU is in maximum usage, the computer slows down to keep up with the sudden change in your system’s behavior. If you are certain that you are not running too many programs at the same time, it might be due to a cryptojacking script that was injected.
Overheating of the device:
High processor usage leads to Overheating of your computer system and there will be an increase in power utilization. In those cases make sure you get to the root cause of the problem and recover your system from the attack.
How to prevent cryptojacking?
It is not yet clear whether cryptojacking is an illegal thing to do. However, it definitely is unethical. Installing strong, anti-malware software which has good reviews in the market may help to avoid cryptojacking attacks. However, here are some of the ways, cryptojacking can be prevented/avoided from injecting itself into your systems:
Better Security Awareness Training:
Phishing (an attempt to attain sensitive information) is one of the easiest ways for the crypto jackers to infect a system. So train your employees and make them aware of the crypto jack attacks and train them to avoid potential risks and visiting suspicious websites.
Install ad blockers or anti-crypto mining extensions on web browsers:
Most of the cryptojacking attacks after the user visits a suspicious website that pop-ups in the form of an ad. Avoid clicking on the ad links and install an ad blocker that can identify crypto mining scripts as soon as they occur and blacklist those scripts.
Endpoint Protection program:
Endpoint protection is embedded into many antiviruses, so installing such an antivirus could detect a crypto mining script and protect prevent it from attacking your computer.
Keep the web-filters updated:
If you keep your web filter tools updated from time to time, it can detect the malicious script instantly and prevents it from reaching your computer system.
To respond to cryptojacking script while working online is to close the tab as soon as anything seems suspicious. Once you block the infected URL, make sure your web filter tools are up to date. If not, update it instantly. Update all the browser extensions and remove the ones that are not needed anymore or infected ones. If you keep your eyes and ears open, crypto jackers would not be able to hijack you and your cryptocurrency would be safe with you.