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Cryptojacking: How To Stay Safe

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How to guard against cryptojacking.

Cryptocurrency has become a lucrative business to invest in. As a result, more and more people are getting involved. The cryptocurrency boom has given rise to all sorts of cryptocurrency thieves. Of the bunch, the most notable ones among them are those who employ cryptojacking and exit-scams. Indeed, these people issue fake ICOs and defraud people with them. True, they seem to be the most common ones orbiting around cryptocurrency because it doesn’t require special skill to join the “trade.”

Another set of thieves that are causing untold damage, but go unreported, are those who attack miners. While miners work to reap the benefits of their hard work, these thieves try to rip the miners apart. Does the word “cryptojacking” sound Greek to you? If yes, stick around as we explain all there is to know about it in this piece.

What is Cryptojacking?

Cryptojacking is a type of cyber attack where an unauthorized person (cybercriminal) uses another’s computing device to mine cryptocurrency. To achieve this, hackers deceive the prospective miner to click on malicious software or link to a website. Sometimes, they use malicious email with links as well.

Upon clicking on any of the links, a Pandora’s box of viruses will be unleashed upon the miner’s computer. Instantly, the miner is exposed to crypto-mining code that executes automatically. Though, the auto-execution happens once the victim’s browser is detected.

What’s next? The code starts running in the background of the victim’s computer. Sadly, the miner might not know that his computer has been “hijacked.” This happens in different ways though.

How Cryptojacking Works

In general, cryptojacking works in two ways. The first type is secretly loading malicious crypto-mining scripts into the computer of the victim. You may call this phishing in digital currency. Truly, the crypto thieves usually send email to the miner asking them to click on a link, though the link usually contains crypto-mining scripts. Upon clicking on the link, the script slithers into the background of the computer. The background becomes their “lounge.” Yes, the malicious codes will be having a field day, leaving destructive, slimy streaks in the computer.

Apart from the phishing-like method, there is also the second one. To steal cryptocurrency, cybercriminals will inject a script on a website. Once this is done, and a victim visits the website, the script executes automatically. Guess what happens? This time, a complex mathematical algorithm runs on the victim’s computer. As a result, it fetches sensitive information and sends it to the server of the cyber thief. 

Which Method do Hackers use?

Let’s ask the experts. The Chief Technology Officer at cybersecurity firm SecBI, Alex Vaystikh, knows. Usually, he says the hackers use the two methods to maximize their hacking potentials. Attackers use persistent and reliable software to deliver malicious codes to the victim’s computer, says Vaystikh.

Unlike other malware, cryptojacking scripts do not ruin the victim’s data. Basically, they steal CPU processing resources of their victims. Apart from attacking individual miners, they also attack corporate mining firms. When they attack these companies, they spend time troubleshooting what the cause of the problem is.

How to Guard Against Cryptojacking

At this juncture, the next question is how do you guard against it in order to prevent crypotjacking. It is essential to take this seriously, so to guard against it follow the steps below.

  • Incorporate Cryptojacking Awareness Training in Your Schedule

Indeed, the importance of such training is that it will protect the system when there’s no technical solution. Marc Laliberte, the senior analyst at network security vendor, WatchGuard Technologies, lends a voice. Laliberte says he believes that phishing will continue to stand out among all the techniques that crypto cyber thieves use. Phishing relies on some degree of the victim’s involvement. 

  • Install an Ad Blocking Software on Your Computer

This also includes an anti-cryptocurrency extension that runs on websites. You do know why you are installing the software, don’t you? Yes, the extension will automatically block the malicious ads. Laliberte suggested MinerBlock and NoCoin. These are scripts that automatically detect and block cryptojacking scripts.

  • Use of Endpoint Protection

Do you know what that is? Here’s the thing: endpoint protection allows antivirus software to run on it. Antivirus is anti-cryptojacking software that prevents malicious programs from making their way into the computer. It’s important to note that hackers are constantly updating their techniques to have access to miners’ computers. So, miners must up their game.

  • Keep Web Filters Updated

Whenever you identify websites that deliver cryptojacking scripts, do well to safeguard yourself from them. Better yet, restrict or block your user’s access to them.

  • Ensure you Maintain Browser Extension

You see, research shows that some attackers prefer the use of malicious browser extensions. As a result, they poison legitimate extensions to be able to execute crypto-mining scripts.

  • Use Mobile Device Management (MDM)

In addition, MDM can help with protecting BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). With MDM solution, it becomes easy to manage apps and extensions on the users’ devices. However, these solutions tend to be geared toward enterprises, and startups cannot afford it.

Detecting Cryptojacking

Without mincing words, cryptojacking can still affect your computer despite all your efforts to stop it. In truth, detecting it can be very difficult. It gets worse in an organization, especially if only a few systems are affected. When some systems are already compromised, it’s a red flag! Yes, your current endpoint protection tools have failed to stop cryptojacking.

In that case, one of the ways of guarding against it is employing the preventive method. When the computer at the help desk has been attacked, get your act together. Protect the rest! Cryptojacking can be detected when all hands are on deck.

Similarly, another technique that can be used to detect cryptojacking is through overheating systems. When computer devices are usually overheating, that’s a sign. Excess heat can damage or reduce the lifecycles of devices. This will be very apparent with mobile devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets.

Conclusion

Friend, there you have it. This piece explains all there is to know about cryptojacking. Indeed, the tips explained above are critical. You have the choice to not be the next victim of cryptojacking. All you need to do is to follow the instructions above religiously. Do it and kick out a gold-digger preying on you.

 

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