Anyone who is in the cryptocurrency market would be well aware of what bitcoin mining is. Said to come from two words of Cryptocurrency and Hijacking, it is not about stealing one’s cryptos but more about making one produce them unknowingly.
A growing trend among hackers
The technology behind Cryptojacking
2 ways are most common to make your computer mine cryptocurrencies without your knowledge and these tactics are not entirely new. They have been used for other means in the past.
- Phishing – You receive a normal email where you will be asked to click on a link. This could come in the form of a promotion or a special offer. Once you click on the link, the code is then transferred to your computer which contains the script to mine for cryptos in the background. Each time your computer is switched on, it will start running.
- Redirected traffic – Your computer will automatically mine for cryptos when you click on the website or a digital ad. This method does not necessarily store any codes on your computer.
Both the methods above uses very complex algorithms that will produce cryptos which will then be channeled back to the hacker. That way, they benefit from the computing power from someone else’s machine. Collectively, the amount can be very substantial.
Getting to the root of the problem
Cryptojacking is a common problem and if this is not monitored properly, it can have very negative effects. In early 2018, it accounted for nearly a quarter of all the attacks. The Smominru cryptomining botnet was also found to infected more than 500,000 machines in 2018 where Windows servers were used to mine the Monero cryptocurrency. Reports showed that the exercise generated about $3.6 million worth of Monero. These scripts are easily available on the Dark Web from as low as $20 which makes them easy to obtain and use.
It must also be noted that because such codes are run on the background, it usually goes undetected for a long time. As such, users are advised to be mindful about the website they visit and not to download or click on links that they are not comfortable with. Installing malware detectors is another countermeasure that should be considered.