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Cryptojacking – It’s Not a Myth

What You Can Do to Stay Secure

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If you know anything about cryptocoins, then you know that one of the most common ways to acquire them is by mining. The process of mining entails using computing power to solve complex mathematical problems. Once you get the answer, you are awarded some cryptocoins. Since you only earn as many puzzles as you solve, miners will seek to acquire as much computing power as possible. This usually entails buying mining rigs or hijacking people’s computers without their knowledge via cryptojacking.

For some time, the only way to force a computer to mine for coins was by installing malicious software to the hard drive. However, miners have since discovered a new method. As soon as you visit a website, your computer starts to mine the digital coins for someone else.

How it Works

Cryptojacking starts when a javascript mining file is uploaded to the website. This script is either laced by the owner or after someone hacks into the site and places it there. When you visit the site, the javascript starts running and using your computing power to mine for coins. As long as you use the site, your computer will continue to mine.

This type of hack is not aimed at stealing anything from your computer. Instead, it continues to mine for coins without your knowledge. However, this can place a strain on your computer. For one, it can cause the processor to overheat or slow down the computer. In some cases, it has been known to damage the hardware.

Cryptojacking does not apply to any process where the computer user consents to having their device used for mining. For instance, Coinhive will allow the webmaster to set up an optional miner, to which visitors can consent if they want an ad-free experience. A good example of this nefarious practice was Pirate Bay deciding that instead of ads, users would have their computers used to mine coins.

How to Stop it

There are numerous methods, which you can use to stop this practice. They include:

Manually Detecting Cryptojacking

When your computer is cryptojacked, there will be many telltale signs such as slowing down. Sometimes, you may need to check CPU usage while at other times you just need to listen to the computer. As it overworks, the fan starts revving up, which is a clear sign your computer is being misused.

Block the Script

This can be done using a simple ad blocker or a script blocker. There have even been dedicated plugins created to prevent sites from using your computer resources without permission. These simple plugins are usually enough to put a hold on any mining activity on the site.

Have a Good antivirus

As mentioned earlier, some people may try to run software on your computer. Good antivirus software will help to find them and remove them. Ensure your antivirus and the entire system is often updated.

Image Credit: Deposit Photos

What do you think about the nefarious activity of cryptojacking? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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