What Is Cryptojacking & How To Avoid It?

 - Sakshi Post

You may not realize it but possibly cybercriminals are using your computer to mine cryptocurrency. Cybercriminals keep looking for new ways to fulfill their malicious motives. As cryptocurrency became a global phenomenon, a new cyber threat has emerged. Over the past few months, numerous cases of cryptojacking have come to light. This latest trend of gaining unauthorized entry to someone else’s computer systems has now become a serious global problem. So, what exactly cryptojacking is and what you need to do to avoid this threat?

What is Cryptojacking?

Cryptojacking is a tactic where cybercriminal uses people’s devices like computers, smartphones, laptops, or servers to secretly mine cryptocurrency. Unlike other cyber threats, the victim of cryptojacking may never know about it. Here the hacker works secretly and the code is designed to stay completely hidden from the user. This malicious crypto-mining method uses the machine resources of the victim so that the hacker doesn’t need to build a dedicated cryptomining computer. Hackers target business and personal computers and servers to add up resources and compete against sophisticated cryptomining operations without the costly overhead.

Unlike other cyber attacks, the victims of cryptojacking may not notice that they’re being targeted. This happens because the cryptojacking software remains hidden from the user. The hacker may use malicious code to exploit the computing resources of visitors to the website to mine for the cryptocurrency. The crypto mining codes hidden in websites and online ads get automatically installed on the victim computer. It is also possible that the victims click on a malicious link sent via email that loads the crypto mining code on to their computer. Once the code is installed, it works secretly in the background and the device owner can continue to work normally.

How Cryptojacking Affect Users?

If your device is infected with a crypto mining code then you may not notice it. However, this doesn’t mean that the code is not taking its toll. Similar to any other cyber-attack, here also the motive is money. Hackers use this tactic for mining cryptocurrency, as well as to steal digital currency like Bitcoin from other digital wallets. If a hacker is using your computer resources for mining, it will slow down other processes of your system, increase your electricity bills, and shorten the life of the device. The code is difficult to detect because it runs in the background but signs like- slower computer response time, increased processor usage, and overheating computer devices indicate that possibly you’re being attacked. The malicious software may also steal cryptocurrency wallets owned by unsuspecting victims. When cryptocurrency is lost or stolen, it can be difficult to get it back. Cryptojacking doesn’t lead to data loss but if you ignore the red flags, your device may become slow to an extent where it gets unusable. Besides cryptojacking, there are some other phishing attacks also where users click on malicious links that install malware on their device. This type of attack is intended to steal your digital assets from your online cryptocurrency wallet. When digital currencies get lost or stolen, cryptocurrency data recovery can become quite tricky.

How to Prevent Cryptojacking?

Now you might be wondering if it’s difficult to detect cryptojacking code, what you can do to avoid it. To protect your business computer and personal devices from being used for malicious intent, you need to be extra cautious. Here are some tips to minimize the risk of falling prey to cryptojacking-

  • Businesses need to give training to their employees to identify suspicious emails and links that would install malware such as crypto mining code on their machines.
  • Install ad-blocking extensions on web browsers that can detect and block crypto mining scripts hidden in websites and ads.
  • You may also consider disabling JavaScript when browsing online and keep web filtering tools updated to avoid cryptojacking code from infecting your computer.
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