Every day I access numerous sites for personal research and work, the brave browser that I believe that many if not all of them use here has helped me a lot to improve the performance of my computer with all these pages open, however despite this I noticed a drop in the standard performance from my computer and decided to investigate in depth what was happening, in the end I recognized some malicious sites that were sucking performance from malicious software that was stealing my processing to mine the monero cryptocurrency. Researching these programs in depth I wrote down some interesting things that can help you just as it helped me.
I've already written a post about How to prevent fraud, loss or theft in the world of cryptocurrencies. that is quite interesting and if you are interested in this type of content I recommend you to read it too.
Initially the ideal is to understand three concepts that can help you understand how it all works: Malware, Ransomware and Cryptojacking.
Generally speaking, malware refers to a type of program designed to infect a legitimate user's computer and harm it in several ways. Malware can infect computers and devices in a number of ways, in addition to taking various forms, including viruses, worms, trojans, spyware and others. As I want to get to a specific point here, I am not going to talk about all the different types of malware and how they can harm you, I believe that with a quick search on any site you can read in detail about each one.
Ransomware is a type of software that restricts access to the infected system with a kind of lock, preventing the victim from accessing his computer and all data stored on it. The software then charges a ransom so that access can be restored. This ransom, in virtually all attacks, must be paid with cryptocurrencies. If the victim fails to make payment, the files may be lost and even published.
Cryptojacking is malware that hides on a computer or mobile device and uses the machine's resources to mine cryptocurrencies without the knowledge or consent of the device owner. Most cryptojacking software is designed to be hidden from users, but this does not mean that it is not producing its effects. This theft of your digital resources slows down your processes, increases your electric bill and shortens your device's useful path. You can be infected with this malware in several ways, one of which is by clicking on a malicious link on a website, social network or email and it loads the cryptocurrency mining code directly on your computer. Once your computer is infected, the cryptojacker starts working 24 hours a day to mine cryptocurrencies (usually those focused on privacy like Monero and Dash) while remaining hidden in the background.
How to protect yourself
Since malware is contracted by your browser, this is where most of the work must be done. You can for example use adblocks to avoid clicking on these links that generate codes unintentionally, but the widespread use of this tool has negative consequences for small sites that operate legitimately and need the adsense money in their monthly income, another alternative is to use forms protection through plugins.
The Firefox browser natively has a way to protect itself, as I do not have such a browser installed, it will not be possible to bring a tutorial on images, but what should be done is to go to "Preferences"> "Privacy and security" and choose the option "Custom" where you can choose what kind of resources can be loaded on the websites you visit and activate "Cryptominers" and restart your browser. After this process Firefox will block all malicious sites that mine cryptocurrencies without your consent.
As I believe that most people on this site use the Brave browser (which is based on the Chromium browser), I will show the option of plugins I am using to block these sites since it does not have native protection against it (you can search for own account if you don't like the option I'm using).
The miner blocker is available for free at the google extension store and works very intuitively:
When installing you can enable blocker to make the blocker work instantly or add a website to the whitelist, letting the plugin know that you trust that particular website. In the settings, if you understand programming, you can add specific filters that improve the plugin's operation.
Although the protections for plugins and Firefox are quite efficient, there are some extra measures that can be taken to prevent your computer from being the victim of malware or ransomware attacks. Check out some of them:
- Keep your operating system up to date
- Always keep your firewall up and up to date
- Don't open spam email messages or click on suspicious websites or check with your antivirus first
- Download an antivirus and anti-malware program
- Avoid leaving passwords for bank accounts or cryptocurrency wallets stored on your computer, and protect your most important files with a password
- Take care when installing third party programs; always download directly from the official website
- If you use BitTorrent for downloads, always pass the downloaded file through an antivirus before running
- Regularly scan your operating system using an antivirus
Thank you for reading so far :D