Cryptojacking is a cybercrime in which websites or devices are hacked with clandestine software for mining crypto. Can it be prevented?
How do Hackers ‘Cryptojack’ the Unsuspecting?
Cryptojacking activities, like Ransomware deployment, is one of the fastest-growing cybercrimes. It is difficult to detect and extremely profitable for cybercriminals. Cryptojacking is when a hacker hacks your hardware or website and installs a crypto mining app secretly, using your energy and resources to mine free cryptocurrency.
Hackers often employ botnets, and infect thousands of computers and mine a few pennies of crypto per day, on many, many different machines. If you’re infected it can make your hardware underperform, or make your website’s user experience horrible as visitors experience a slowdown as their processor is commandeered by the mining software.
Hackers use a variety of different crypto mining software to infect host machines and websites. They often target Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress and Drupal, because one exploit can be used to infect thousands of different websites. Infected sites and devices often infect other devices, growing the attacker’s botnet and profitability.
The crypto they mine illicitly gets sent to a wallet the attacker controls. Monero is typically the most common crypto mined in cryptojacking attacks, because it can be mined without expensive ASIC miners, on normal consumer-grade electronics, and is almost untraceable by law enforcement because of its nature as a privacy coin.
How can Crypto Users Protect Themselves from Cryptojacking?
Even though cryptojacking attacks are common, there are ways to protect yourself. The best defense is to practice good computer security habits.
- Be aware of downloads and suspicious email attachments, always use adblock.
- Antivirus apps have classified many cryptojacking malware variants
- Stay updated with the latest versions of the software
- If you notice your phone using up a lot of battery power very quickly, or if it heats up when not in use, these could be signs of infection.
- Watch out for back doors in previously infected machines. Hackers sometimes leave a backdoor that can be used to reinstall malware that has been removed.
- If you use a CMS for your website make sure to keep it updated, as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and others have been compromised in the past, infecting thousands of sites.
- Block crypto mining pool IPs, and the IPs of infected sites.
- Be wary of free CMS Themes and free apps that may have malware preinstalled in the code.
- Be aware of Phishing attacks, cross-site scripting attacks, and SQL injection attacks that can be used to compromise your website
How do you plan to keep crypto criminals at bay? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Images via Bitcoinist Media Library
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