A new security threat, namely cryptojacking, is born following the explosion of cryptocurrency, Cryptojacking is defined as the unauthorized use of the resource of your computing device to perform cryptocurrency mining. A handful of video streaming sites as well as the notoriously popular torrent site The Pirate Bay have been accused of cryptojacking their users, not to mention the public wifi provider of one of the Starbucks outlet in Buenos Aires.
Do you perhaps notice a slow down in your system performance after surfing the web for awhile? There is good chance that you have also been cryptojacked! ( Or maybe not. Maybe it is just time taking its toll on your computer ) However, even if you haven’t been cryptojacked yet , you should read this article as well to enlighten yourself on the subject and inform yourself with the possible preventive measures that you can take to avoid falling victim to this new form of cybercrime. As the cyberspace advances, there will be emergence of more new and creative forms which cybercrime can take. As digitalization becoming more and more prevalent in various aspects of our everyday life, these attacks aren’t likely to go away soon, especially in the realm of cryptocurrency where the entire space is still in its infancy. Therefore, it is our duty to always keep ourselves educated and informed. Here’s a few other common cyber attacks that you should also be looking out for. ( We will cover these individual attacks in the near future )
- Malware, spyware, ransomware
- Password Attacks
- Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attacks
- Man-in-the-Middle” (MITM)
- Drive-By Downloads
- SQL Injection Attack
- Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
- Rogue Software
- Social engineering/cyber fraud
Alright, enough babbling. Let’s have a closer look on the subject and what can you possibly do to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.
What Is Cryptojacking?
Cryptojacking basically implies that someone has hijacked your personal device to make use of its CPU power to mine cryptocurrencies. The hijacker execute the crypto mining code on your computer without your knowledge to capitalize on the computing power of your device – known as Hash Power. The only sign you might notice is an overall decline in system performance or lags in execution.
How To Avoid Cryptojacking
We are not completely sure of the legal implication of cryptojacking as of right now but what we are certain is that, it is unethical because they are taking advantage of unsuspecting Internet users without their consent.
People who have their devices hacked will observe their devices heating up quicker or battery draining faster or power utilization of the CPU will suddenly increase.
You can check if you have been hacked and your system power is currently being used to mine digital currencies. Simply open your task manager and look at your CPU usage for your browser.
You can also avoid future in-browser cryptojacking with the aid of some techniques, tools and plugins. Some of them are:
- Nocoin ( Chrome Extension )
Nocoin is a free chrome extension that helps you to block websites from hijacking your CPU power. This open-source extension will detect the presence of such activity and provide you with the option of blocking the activity or whitelisting the website.
- minerBlock ( Chrome Extension )
Similar Extension as described above.
- Anti Miner ( Chrome Extension )
- No Script ( Firefox Extension ) / Script Safe ( Chrome Extension )
Another alternative that you can use is adblocker. If you know specifically which websites are guilty of such activity, you could manually add the website to your list of blocked domains.
- Opera Browser
Opera has recently integrated mining protection in its browser. The feature is automatically enabled the moment you switch on the browser's default ad blocking tool.
A list of a few popular cryptojacking reports to date
Here's a few recent reports on cryptojacking that you might want to further explore.
|ASSOCIATED Sites / brands||headlines|
|Pirate Bay||The Pirate Bay Is Cryptojacking Its Visitors’ Computers to Mine for Monero|
|Starbucks||Starbucks Wi-Fi Hijacked People's Laptops to Mine Cryptocurrency|
|Tesla||Tesla gets Crypto-jacked, Cloud used to mine cryptocurrency|
|Live Help Now ||Cryptojacking Script Found in Live Help Widget, Impacts Around 1,500 Sites|
|Australian government websites||Cryptojacking attack hits Australian government websites|
|UK government websites||UK government websites, ICO hijacked by cryptocurrency mining malware|
|WordPress||50,000 WordPress websites probably affected by cryptojacking malware that mines Monero [XMR]|
|Android||Millions of Android devices affected by crypto-mining malware|
Check out more @ https://coinhive.com/
Until now, thousands of websites and millions of individual users have been cryptojacked. Crypto mining without consent ( aka cryptojacking ) is no doubt a condemnable practice, however , In browser crypto mining itself is something truly innovative. It has created a brand new way of online monetization. Some websites that employ such monetization methods are very honest about this and notify you as soon as you landed on their page and seek for your consent to "borrow" your CPU power. ( They should also inform you how much processing power they are intend to utilized ) Some of users don't mind it and find this a better idea that traditional ad monetization while others have a different opinion. Have you ever been cryptojacked? What's your opinion on this new way of online monetization? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!!