What is Cryptojacking and How to Avoid It
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that uses cryptography for security. Some popular cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP, and Solana. While cryptocurrency is secure, it can still be vulnerable to attacks.
If it’s your first time investing in cryptocurrency, you’ve probably heard of ccryptojacking. This type of attack involves hackers using your device’s processing power without you even knowing it.
In this article, we’ll talk more about cryptojacking and how to avoid it.
What is Cryptojacking?
Cryptojacking is when someone hijacks your computer’s resources (CPU or GPU) without your knowledge to mine cryptocurrency. The hacker then makes money off of your computing power.
To further understand this concept, let’s look at how cryptocurrencies work. Cryptocurrencies operate using blockchain technology. Blockchain is essentially a ledger system where transactions are recorded chronologically and publicly. This technology also helps keep your cryptocurrency safe.
Every transaction is verified by solving complex mathematical problems. These problems are known as “mining.” Crypto mining requires a lot of computational power, so those with more computing power are more likely to solve these problems first and earn the mining reward.
When a hacker mines cryptocurrency on your device, they use up your processing power without your knowledge. So if you’re not careful, hackers could make money off your device without you even realizing it.
Signs of a Cryptojacking Attack
Cryptojacking happens when an attacker uses your computer’s processing power to mine cryptocurrency. They do this without your consent. Some may not know that their devices are being used for mining.
However, looking out for the following signs will help you identify if your device has been compromised:
- Your device starts running slower than normal.
- You see unusual activity on your device’s CPU/GPU usage.
- Your device consumes more battery life than usual.
- Your device overheats quickly.
- You have unusually high electricity bills.
Cybercriminals use different techniques to maliciously take control of your computer. These techniques include:
1. Malicious Emails
Cryptojackers can send emails with attachments containing malware. If you open the attachment, the malware infects your device. Once infected, the cybercriminal can use your computing power to mine cryptocurrency.
2. Vulnerability Attacks
Some hackers find vulnerabilities in software programs that run on your PC. When they exploit these vulnerabilities, they gain access to your device. From there, they can install ransomware, spyware, adware, and other types of malware. This malware will be used to access your computer’s computing power.
3. Breaking into Cloud Infrastructure
There are some instances where hackers break into cloud infrastructure to mine cryptocurrency. For example, cryptojackers can scan for exposed container APIs or unsecured cloud storage buckets. This allows them to load mining software on cloud servers.
How to Avoid Cryptojacking
Since more people are starting to invest in cryptocurrencies, cryptojacking attacks are becoming more common. To prevent yourself from falling victim to cryptojacking, follow these tips:
1. Update Software Regularly
Updating software regularly helps protect against viruses and exploits. It also keeps your device up-to-date with security patches. Since attackers can exploit vulnerabilities in older software versions, it’s important to update your operating systems and applications frequently.
2. Avoid Suspicious Websites and Links
If someone sends you a link via email, text message, social media, or any other means, be wary of clicking on it. Hackers often disguise links to phishing sites or websites that contain malware.
You should also be wary of websites that ask you to download something. If you don’t trust the website, then avoid downloading anything — only download files and open links that come from trusted sources.
3. Use Anti-cryptomining Extensions
4. Use an Ad Blocker
In some cases, cryptojackers usually hide malicious scripts in ads. By using an ad blocker, you can stop this type of attack. Ad-blockers like Adblock Plus even have features that help identify crypto-mining scripts.
5. Tighten Cloud and Container Configurations
Since cryptojackers sometimes target cloud infrastructure, ensure that you have good cloud security. Cloud services exposed to the public internet need to be properly secured. Also, make sure that containers aren’t accessible outside of your network.
7. Train and Educate Your Employees
If you’re a business owner, you’ll want to train your employees to spot and avoid cryptojacking. You can teach them about the different ways that hackers try to infect devices and exploit security vulnerabilities. Additionally, you can educate them about what not to click on when visiting unfamiliar websites.
Many individuals fall into cryptojacking if they aren’t careful. With technology continuously developing, there are always going to be new threats. To stay safe, you must remain vigilant and use multiple methods to keep your computer secure. The tips above are just some ways you can avoid cryptojacking.