Of all the different damages that hackers inflict after forcing their entry into a computer system, whether it is a standalone unit or a network of computers, cryptojacking is turning into a serious threat to every device owner.
In layman’s terms, cryptojacking is where a system gets hijacked by the hacker to carryout cryptocurrency mining on it.
It is essential for you, as a regular user of internet-connected devices, to learn as much details as possible about how this is carried out and the ways to protect your computer from being used for cryptojacking.
The first portion will deal with explaining the background about cryptojacking, followed by solutions to stay protected.
Facts about Cryptojacking
You may be familiar with the normal cyberattacks by hackers planting malware in an email attachment or through fake webpages inserted in advertisements.
The victims would click on such contents and then the hacker would take over the computer and start issuing commands from a control center.
The known purposes have been ransom demands where the hacker will encrypt the data on the victim’s computer and send an email saying that the files will be released only if the hacker receives payment of the demanded ransom.
The other cases of stealing important confidential information like user IDs and passwords and using them to steal money have also been common so far.
But in cryptojacking, the hacker utilizes remote code execution after planting specially developed malware that can go about cryptocurrency mining on the victim’s computer.
The currencies earned through such mining will be credited to the hacker’s account.
If you were wondering why would the hackers go about doing this, there are a few reasons.
One is the very process of cryptocurrency mining—it consumes huge amounts of electricity by using the maximum power from the processor in the computing device.
When cryptocurrency mining is being processed on your computer, the cost and damage will be to your device and not the hacker’s.
Additionally, the larger the number of machines working on mining cryptocurrencies, the higher the amount of coins accumulated and at a quicker pace.
The hackers can plant a botnet which is capable of carrying out mining activity at a huge profit.
And the worst part of this is that one can purchase crypto mining kits on the dark web for as little as $30.
But how would you know if your computer has been cryptojacked? One of the immediate consequences of a computer being used for cryptocurrency mining is that it slows the device down.
As mentioned earlier, it pulls a lot of power resources from the main processor. This can result in the system getting overheated as well.
Now you should know how you can prevent this from happening on your device.
Ways to Protect Your Device from Being Cryptojacked
Be Alert to Phishing Attempts
Since research has indicated that the malware is planted more often through phishing emails, there has to be an increased focus on stopping any phishing attempt right at the doorstep.
If you part of an organization where many people are connected to one system, constant training on phishing attempts and the ways to thwart any malware from being allowed into your system must be carried out.
Choose Ad-Block on Your Browser
Again, as mentioned, hackers plant ads on the internet which entice gullible users into clicking on them, and they suffer the damage of doing so.
One way to stop this is to utilize the ad-block feature on your browser.
Ad-blocking apps are available on the app stores of your respective browser, and if you search, you may even be able to locate apps that detect and prevent mining on the system in which they are installed.
Choose Useful Browser Extensions
Again, these browser extensions are specific to the browser you are using. Select the right one and add it to your browser for protection.
Top-End Antivirus Packages Can Do the Job as Well
You may have already installed an antivirus program on your system.
Do a review to check if it has features to stop you from visiting websites which are not secure and stop any kind of malware from making an entry.
If you do a bit of research yourself, you can get antivirus programs that have the capability of stopping cryptocurrency mining activity even on your device.
If you install such anti-malware, you can be almost certain that your computer is safe from cryptojacking. There are both paid and free options available.
Follow All Advised Cybersecurity Measures Without Fail
You might come across several bits of advice on keeping your computer safe and protected.
These might include keeping the operating system and antivirus package as up-to-date as possible.
These measures are critical and you cannot afford to overlook any of them.
Cybersecurity firms are keeping a constant watch on the new types of malware being developed by hackers, and the moment they detect one, they will develop an update and send it your way.
You must download and update the package installed on your device.
Not doing this can put your system in harm’s way.
This applies to downloading apps from your browser’s app store as well.
Some browsers inadvertently permit unsafe apps to be uploaded on the store and you might be lured into downloading and installing them without proper scrutiny.
Some rogue apps planted by people with malicious intent can be the cause of malware entering your device and carrying out cryptojacking.
Experts always add a caveat at the end of these tips that none of these solutions could be trusted as the ultimate fail-safe method to stop hackers from inflicting damage.
But as the cliché goes, it is better to be safe than sorry. Prevention is key in the long run.