Cryptojacking – The Internet’s Pandemic
What Is Cryptocurrency And Crypto Mining?
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency used online in exchange for goods and services. There’s no central authority with cryptocurrencies, but all transactions are publicly available and stored in a distributed ledger called a Blockchain.
Since cryptocurrencies do not use a central bank, transactions must be verified before adding them to the blockchain. To do this, cryptocurrencies use very complex algorithms to verify transactions. These calculations take enormous computing power.
Crypto Miners perform system-intensive calculations using their computers or, if they’re not above board, computers they’ve taken over. In return, Miners get a small portion of the mined cryptocurrency as payment for performing these calculations. Once transactions are verified, they’re added to the blockchain.
Is Crypto Mining Legal?
The answer, as you may have guessed, is, “it depends.”
Legality is determined by where you’re located and if you are crypto mining legally. Some governments see crypto mining as “performing a service,” while others see it as a nefarious occupation.
Even in those countries where crypto mining is legal, you’re no doubt breaking the law if you secretly download crypto mining software onto someone’s computer without their permission and run system-intensive calculations. In effect, you’re stealing another person’s computing power.
Illegal Crypto Mining is called Cryptojacking. Statistics show that Cryptojacking has increased 8000% as criminals continue to exploit the computing power of unsuspecting victims.
Signs Of Cryptojacking
- CPU utilization spikes upward when opening a particular website.
- Your device heats up.
- Your PC or laptop makes a loud whirring noise.
- Your laptop’s battery drains quickly.
- Your system is unusually slow and may even crash.
The Most Common Ways To Be Infected With Cryptojacking Viruses
- Driveby Downloads – the virus is automatically downloaded when you visit an infected site.
- Browser-based Attack – if you visit a webpage with embedded malicious code, crypto mining occurs every time you visit the same website. It is a fileless attack, meaning no malware is stored on your computer.
How To Treat A Cryptojacking Infection
- First, close the website that is running the script. Make sure you block the site from now on.
- Update your browser extensions.
- Remove any browser extensions that you suspect as being compromised.
- Update and run your antivirus program and run a good antimalware solution, such as Malwarebytes and the Sophos Virus Removal Tool. There are others, so do your research.
- Infections resident on computers is usually passed to the victim via a phishing attack. So, avoid clicking links or opening attachments in emails.
- Install an anti-crypto mining browser extension, known as a Cryptojacking blocker.
- Get in the habit of reviewing browser extensions. Check anything that you’re not familiar with.
- Keep your browser and extensions up-to-date.
- Check your PC the first time you notice it slowing down. Immediately check CPU usage and temperature. If anything seems off, take action quickly.
Cryptojacking is a serious problem, and because it can be lucrative, the problem is increasing exponentially. But, to make a lot of money, crypto miners need a considerable amount of resources.
Always be aware of what is happening in your system. Don’t let your computer get hijacked for some else’s benefit. Stay safe.
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