What is Cryptojacking?
Cryptojacking is a form of cyberattack in which hackers use the victim's computer processing power to mine cryptocurrency. Often the victim has no idea their device is being used. Cryptoackers use a number of ways to enslave a device. One way is through distribution using traditional malware techniques, such as a link or attachment in an email. Clicking on those email links, or running the website scripts, exploits vulnerabilities in the target devices that hackers can freely manipulate to illegally access target computer resources.
In most maximum cases, Monero is the cryptocurrency of choice as its mining process does not need large amounts of resources and processing power like Bitcoin mining does. In addition, Monero provides increased levels of privacy and anonymity, making transactions much harder to be tracked down
The motive behind Cryptojacking is simple: money. Mining cryptocurrencies can be very lucrative, but turning a profit is now next to impossible without the means to cover large costs. To someone with limited resources and questionable morals, Cryptojacking is an effective, inexpensive way to mine valuable coins.
First appearance of Cryptojacking
Cryptojacking made its first appearance in September of 2017 when a website called Coinhive published code that enabled crypto miners to mine the cryptocurrency Monero by donating a small amount of the processing capacity of third party CPUs. The peer-to-peer file-sharing site Pirate Bay then incorporated this code into their website, inviting their clients to use this method to generate funds for Pirate Bay in lieu of viewing on-site ads. Following the Coinhive debut, malicious copycat websites came online providing similar scripts that enabled miners to illegally hijack the computing resources of mobile devices, personal computers, and servers.
In February 2018, Bad Packets Report found 34,474 sites running Coinhive.In July 2018, Check Point Software Technologies reported that four of the top ten malware it has found are crypto miners, including the top two: Coinhive and Cryptoloot.
How does Cryptojacking works
There are a few ways Cryptojacking can occur. One of the more popular ways is to use malicious emails that can install crypto-mining code on a computer. This is done through phishing tactics. The victim receives a seemingly harmless email with a link or an attachment. Upon clicking on the link or downloading the attachment, it runs a code that downloads the crypto mining script on the computer. The script then works in the background without the victim’s knowledge.
Another is known as a web browser miner. In this method, hackers inject a crypto mining script on a website or in an ad that is placed on multiple websites. When the victim visits the infected website, or if the malicious ad pops up in the victim’s browser, the script automatically executes. In this method, no code is stored on the victim’s computer.
In both these situations, the code solves complex mathematical problems and conveys the results to the hacker’s server while the victim is completely unaware.
How to detects Cryptojacking attack
As with any other malware infection, there are some warnings you may be able to notice on your own.
Symptoms of Cryptojacking
- High processor usage on your device
- Sluggish or unusually slow response times
- Overheating of your device
How to respond to a Cryptojacking attack
- Kill and block website-delivered scripts
- Employ browser extensions