Cryptocurrencies created a new decentralized system that many hoped would make it difficult to forge transactions. However, hackers have still found a way to abuse it and make easy money. How? Cryptojacking.
To understand what cryptojacking is, we first need to understand how cryptocurrencies are created. Cryptocurrencies are based on blockchain technology, which makes it difficult to forge financial transactions.
How do crypto transactions work? Instead of a bank verifying your transaction, it’s done by a network of computers. They record the sender’s and receiver’s bitcoin addresses and the amount that needs to be transferred. This information is then entered into a ledger where multiple computers can verify the transaction.
The computers that are responsible for the verification are called crypto miners. They put transactions into blocks that are then added to the blockchain. However, they are only accepted onto the blockchain if correctly hashed. The computer needs to perform complex mathematical calculations to do so. This takes time and a lot of computer processing power.
So why would anyone want to become a crypto miner? Because you are rewarded with a bitcoin once the block is added to the blockchain. So yes, your computer could essentially be making you money without you lifting a finger. However, it’s not that simple.
The blockchain is designed so that only a limited number of bitcoins can be released regularly. This means that the more people mine bitcoins, the more difficult it becomes and the more computing power you need. When bitcoins were launched in 2009, it was possible to use your laptop to mine crypto, but not anymore. If you want crypto mining to be profitable, you need racks of advanced hardware that can cost thousands of dollars.
Or, if you’re an unscrupulous hacker, you could hijack thousands of computers to do the work for you.
Cryptojacking is an unauthorized use of someone’s device to mine digital currency. By using a huge network of computers, hackers can mine crypto while using their victims’ electricity, devices and computing power to increase their profits. Victims might not even notice that their device is mining crypto. The only signs may be slower performance and overheated devices.
There are two ways hackers can cryptojack your device:
Hackers might also hide malicious scripts behind web ads. The code is executed when the ad pops up.
Detecting cryptojacking on your device can be very difficult. It’s designed to be as stealthy as possible. However, the most common symptoms of crypto malware are:
However, there are a few things that may help you prevent or detect cryptojacking malware.
For more cybersecurity tips, subscribe to our free monthly newsletter below!