With the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies over the last year, there is a simultaneous growth in the crypto-mining malware attacks. These attacks are popularly referred to as “cryptojacking.”
According to the report from Global News, St Francis Xavier University (StFX) is the recent victim of cryptojacking. To combat this mining malware, the university had to shut down its entire network for four days last week.
As a result, several services like Wi-Fi, campus email, online course selection, cloud storage, and others, took a hit.
Official Statement from the StFX University
Last Sunday, November 4th, the StFX University released an official statement in this regard. The university noted that the malware attempted to “utilize StFX’s collective computing power in order to create or discover bitcoin for monetary gain.”
The malware attack forced the university to pull down its website on Thursday at which it started investigations. The university noted that it used a “staggered approach in bringing the systems back online to minimize potential risk.” Moreover, it also confirms that all the personal information within their network is safe with no privacy breach taking place.
As part of the precautionary measure, the university has asked all network associates to reset their passwords. The university has also heightened other security measures to protect its network. Furthermore, it “will continue to analyze and monitor for suspicious activity in the days and weeks ahead.”
Understanding the Cryptojacking Malware Attack
With the advent of cryptocurrencies, there is a transitional shift from online ransomware attacks to cryptojacking attacks. A ransomware attack involves locking up of the targeted computer system by the malware. This malware injection takes place often through a malicious link in the email.
The ransomware attackers demand huge sums of money in order to unlock the system. Cryptojacking is a new form of online cyber attack. With cryptojacking, the process of injecting malware is quite similar to that of ransomware. However, instead of entirely locking up the system, it tricks the system to use the computing power to mine cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrency mining is the process of verifying and storing digital currency transactions in a public ledger called blockchain. Crypto mining is a computationally intensive task having a high processing demand. Hence, through malicious activities like cryptojacking, online hacker tries to steal this processing power from all the online connected computers.
In the last year, cryptojacking is on a steep rise with the simultaneous decline in ransomware attacks.
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