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A Review of Cryptojacking

To some degree or another, most of us have heard of the term “Virtual Currency”.  This is essentially the cloud-based version of the traditional paper money.  For example, with Ransomware a Cyber attacker wants to be paid with this new type of currency, usually in the form of Bitcoin.  There are other types of virtual currencies that are out there, and collectively, these are also known as “Cryptocurrencies”.

 

There was a time earlier this year, when Cryptocurrencies were all the rage, especially in the financial markets. Futures contracts and even indexes were created and tracked for them and were traded heavily.  For a period of time, the value of them went sky high and people thought that this would be the real thing again, similar to the .com craze back in the early 90’s.

 

Cryptojacking Defined

As that came to a crashing end, so did the volatility of the Cryptocurrencies. Although they are still being traded, just not with the volume and the market capitalization that it once had. Now, here is another twist to the story.  The Cyber attacker is entering into this realm, with a new threat called “Cryptojacking”, which is essentially mining the various Cryptocurrencies for monetary value.

 

But first, it is important to define what Cryptomining is all about, and it is as follows:

 

“Bitcoin mining is done by specialized computers. The role of miners is to secure the network and to process every Bitcoin transaction. Miners achieve this by solving a computational problem which allows them to chain together blocks of transactions (hence Bitcoin’s famous “blockchain”). For this service, miners are rewarded with newly-created Bitcoins and transaction fees.” (source 1)

 

 

Technically, Cryptojacking can be defined as follows:

 

“Cryptojacking is the unauthorized use of someone else’s computer to mine cryptocurrency. Hackers do this by either getting the victim to click on a malicious link in an email that loads crypto mining code on the computer, or by infecting a website or online ad with JavaScript code that auto-executes once loaded in the victim’s browser.”  (Source 2)

 

Cryptojacking Explained

 

Now that we have defined Cryptomining and Cryptojacking, we can put these in simpler terms.  We all have an idea of what a virtual currency is. Since there is no way to actually track down this digital currency, it needs to be made secure on the Internet.

 

So, this is where the mining aspect of it comes into play.  It is their job to protect all of these currencies and transactions, by having the ability to solve very complex math problems.

 

Once this has been done in a successive fashion, all of these transactions then form a “block” (aka the “Blockchain”) which creates the line of defense to protect these virtual currencies and their associated transactions.  In return for their services, these miners (which are legal entities), are paid a certain fee percentage.

 

How a Cryptojacking Attack is Launched

 

The cyber attacker now wants to gain their foot into this game because of the return that is associated, and become cryptominers themselves, but of course illegally. Keep in mind, there are very complex mathematical problems to solve in order for the miner to be rewarded. This of course takes a lot of computing and processing power.

 

The Cyber attacker does not want to spend the money in terms of procuring the extra hardware to do this, so he or she will hijack your computer. From there, steal the processing power as well as the electricity in order to mine the Cryptocurrencies.  You may be asking at this point; how can they do this to your computer?

 

It’s quite easy.  All they have to do is send you a Phishing like Email, which contains a malicious link or attachment.  Once you have fallen victim to this, a specialized Cryptomining code is then installed onto your computer or even mobile device.

 

An even stealthier way is when you visit a website, there could be infected pieces of Java source code running behind the site you are viewing and the Cryptomining code can then be covertly loaded onto your computer. At this point in the game, the Cryptomining code is now technically malware.

 

The problem with this new malware is that it is very difficult to spot on your computer, and can installed and deployed in a very sneaky manner.  In these instances, the Cyber attacker is not just exclusively targeting computers and wireless devices, they will go after anything that will give them free electricity.  This includes servers, routers, cable modems, firewalls, network intrusion devices, etc.

 

It is also important to keep in mind that there is no specialized package that the Cyber attacker has to deploy onto a device – the malware is just a few lines of infected source code, which makes it all the more difficult to detect.  Because of the extremely low overhead that is required, and its sneaky nature, the rise in Cryptojacking has increased significantly.

 

For example, McAfee has just discovered almost 3 million new cases of it, which is a staggering 629% increase from 2017.  So, what are some of the telltale signs if your computer has been hijacked for the purposes of Cryptojacking?  Here are some clues:

 

  •  Slowdown in the speed of your computer;
  • Very slow load times when trying to connect to the Internet;
  • A slow increase in your electricity bill.

 

Conclusions

In response to all of this, tech giants like Google and Apple whom have mobile app stores are taking proactive actions to protect their customers.  For example, with the former, they no longer allow for browser extensions in its Web Store that mine cryptocurrencies. The Google Play Store allows for customers to pick extensions and apps that personalize their Chrome web browser, but this will now become highly restricted. In fact, a recent study (conducted by a Cyber security firm known as Sophos) detected 25 rogue mobile applications which had the infected Cryptojacking source code in them.  These mobile apps were downloaded at least 120,000 times by different end users.

 

 

Sources:

Source 1 :  https://www.buybitcoinworldwide.com/mining/

 

Source 2:  https://www.csoonline.com/article/3253572/internet/what-is-cryptojacking-how-to-prevent-detect-and-recover-from-it.html).

 

Source:  https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/your-computer-could-be-quietly-mining-bitcoin-someone-else-n922101)

 

The details of the Sophos study can be seen here:

Cryptojacking apps return to Google Play Market

31 thoughts on “A Review of Cryptojacking

  1. Cryptojacking!this is novel to me..Hackers are finding new ways to hijack people’s systems..Companies need a good
    IT Support to guard against this on their system

  2. Now, I truly understand what cryptocurrency is and what this new cryptojacking is all about. Thank you for this article. Having the best IT services is really needed especially when it comes to this. Thanks to Best Structure because they offer a lot, they offer the best IT service.

  3. Thankfully I am in an country where hackers are rare or at least people does not even believe in this crypto stuff. That said, a computer company must be ready for this.

  4. I had no idea this is what happens. I might be a victim and have no clue. It is however good for a firm to have IT outsourcing plans to prevent such cases.

  5. I have heard of crypto currencies before but could not grasp how this is relevant. Now that I read this, I kind of get why hackers want to mine it.

  6. It’s crazy how technology has been so advanced these days. IT Support is definitely one of the best options when it comes to that I think. People should know about this article.

  7. I can see how bad can be the Cryptojacking. IT Support is clever for those business that are currently working with cryptocurrencies or planing to doit.

  8. IT Support is vital in cypto currency. Specially now that it has yet to be view as a stable alternative for currency. I know because I use and accept BTC for the time being.

  9. It’s great to get a better grasp of what virtual currency and cryptojacking really is. This IT Consulting seems very qualified through the various case trials. If cryptocurrency becomes the new norm, it’s definitely important to be prepared so your online monetary transactions are safe.

  10. With the advancement of technology, most transactions take place through Cryptocurrencies. So, cryptojacking is a threat to companies. Los Angeles IT Consulting is a unique option for the businesses to take help from.

  11. Just learn a little now about cyptojacking , though I have seen been tossed about but never really knew what it meant. Thanks to you Los Angeles IT Support for bringing it to my notice.

  12. Thanks Los Angeles Computer Company for this detailed information on Cryptojacking and its effects. I wish you could highlight the steps to solve this as i highly believe that my machine has been cryptojacked and i don’t know how to deal with it.

  13. Cryptojacking is a very serious threat. People should really rely on getting the best Los Angeles IT Service when it comes to dealing with cryptojacking situations that got out of hand.

  14. How do you even hijack a blockchain? This is the very first time I heard such thing. Anyway, this is why an IT Service should be in place.

  15. I am not real fan of crypto-things and right now I believe I have got knowledge of the cryto-hijacking as this is an eye opener, companies should also imbibe the IT outsourcing culture to keep them safe from any malicious attack.

  16. It’s horrible how jackers always find a way to attack people, this time the turn is for cryptocurrencies.
    Los Angeles IT Service is always doing something to protect us from cyber attack and that’s wonderful.

  17. It’s interesting that the cyber attacks will go after any form of electricity. I can see why having protection is so important when a hacker can pounce on an infected source code at the push of a button. After reading this piece, I can see why it’s so crucial to have reliable IT Consulting in the event of cryptojacking.

  18. It is now a trend. Crypto currency. I do believe that it can be indeed the future. Hell even a computer company is into the action. However it also comes with risk as it did with benefits.

  19. Many are victims without knowing. It’s sad how hard it can be to recognize the issue. It requires of you to have IT Consulting with firms that are good at threats.

  20. With virtual currency, there is a much higher risk of losing money due to cyber threats. The stats of cryptojacking are staggering, so I can totally see why Google and Apple are taking preliminary precautions. It’s definitely important to have the best IT Outsourcing available by your side especially if the majority of your monetary transactions are done online.

  21. Never knew mining the various Cryptocurrencies for monetary value is crypto jacking now I know thanks to the best Los Angeles Computer Company. I have been learning a lot lately about new terms.

  22. Thanks for defining cryptojacking and stressing the importance of Los Angeles IT Outsourcing. The three-million new cases of malware with McAfee prove that every business should have a response attack in the event of a cyber breach. Hopefully Be Structured will put a dent in cryptojacking and all online threats for good.

  23. So hackers use this style to minned crypto currencies, this is why it isn’t good to just click on any kind of link we see online. Educating everyone like this is one of your amazing IT services.

  24. So hackers now even go after anything that will give them free electricity. like servers, routers, cable modems, firewalls, network intrusion devices. This is really serious I hope Los Angeles IT Support can help in this regards.

  25. This is an eye opener so hackers can actually hijack people computer. This is so unbelievable. Good one Los Angeles MSP for making me know this.

  26. What this tells me is nothing is off limits now. With that said. IT Services must be vigilant more than ever. Lucky for me I do not use computers that often.

  27. This is truly a tricky malware. Thank you for sharing this. We continue to be educated with this Los Angeles IT Support group.

  28. Be Structurated is bringing a great IT Services, and is very helpfull letting companies now about the new digital ways of cyber attack like criptojacking.

  29. For cryptojacking a good IT support is what is needed to fight it. No need looking for too long. It all about contacting Be Structured.

  30. This is useful information, given the fact that cryptocurrency is becoming increasingly popular. Los Angeles IT Support will go along way to ensure your safety, while mining the currency.

  31. I’ve heard of the cryptocurrency and cryptomining before, but cryptojacking is new. The Los Angeles IT Outsourcing services are very informative here.

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