Reported as one of the emerging threats, cryptojacking has grown steadily with the spread of cryptocurrencies. Let’s see what it is and how to defend against cryptojacking.
What is cryptojacking and why it affects everyone?
It is a system that generates cryptocurrency by exploiting the victim’s computer resources without the victim noticing. The big difference with other cyber threats, such as ransomware, is that cryp- tojacking is specially design to remain silent and hidden from the victim for as long as possible. In practice, any device, PC, tablet and smartphone, can be infecte with this attack to generate virtual currency.
How cryptocurrency works?
The best known is certainly Bitcoin, but to date, there are about 3,000 different cryptocurrencies. Simplifying, we can say that this digital money uses a distributed database known as blockchain, constantly updated on all the transactions carried out, which constitute a block. To create the blocks, a lot of computing power is require which is provided by people, called miners, who re- ceive cryptocurrency in exchange. There are thus teams of miners who collaborate with the major cryptocurrencies, but all this generates high costs, especially as regards electricity.
Who are the cryptojackers?
Cybercriminals, speci cally called cryptojackers, have thus thought of exploiting other unsu- specting resources to generate cryptocurrency without incurring the costs. Engagement in this type of attack is closely link to the spread and value of cryptocurrency, so it is evident that it becomes a growing threat following the increasing number of people interested and involved in cryptocurrency exchange.
How can you fall victim to cryptojacking?
To understand how you can become a victim of cryptojackin it is good to know how it works. It is a malicious code that can be install on the device through three main ways.
1) By sending the victim a malicious link by email. Clicking it loads the malicious code.
2) Infecting a website or any online promotional ad. This uses a code that once loaded on the browser automatically runs the cryptojacking software.
3) Since this attack also affects mobile devices, it is possible that the malicious code is insert into an app.
As it is design to remain hidden, it is very dif cult for the victim to discover that they have been infecte. Furthermore, this type of software with causes damage to the PC but is limited to using its resources. Furthermore, in some cases these codes are able to expand to other PCs in the same network. If a private individual could just bother about a slower PC, a company could instead face higher costs to solve PC malfunction problems or increased electricity bills.
How to nd out if you are a victim of cryptojacking?
As mentioned, this type of attack remains essentially hidden. However, some indications can be found. First of all, a sudden slowdown in PC performance should arouse suspicion, as well as the battery that lasts less than usual. Overheating can also indicate that the PC is carrying out activi- ties beyond what is apparent. Finally, it can be useful to check CPU usage. An unexpected increa- se should be alarming.
How to defend against this type of cyber attack?
To protect yourself from cryptojacking, the first thing to do is always to install a good antivirus on your pc, it is then important to pay attention to the sites you visit, and the extensions available in the borwser designed to block cryptojacking attacks can also be useful. Another good practice is to avoid clicking on links in suspicious e-mails. Among other things, this attitude also protects against all other cyber threats that can be spread by e-mail.
This article has been develop by Cyber Ducks