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The Rise of Cryptocurrency and Cryptojacking

How modern threats exploit modern currency

Four Assorted Cryptocurrency Coins

The digital era has brought about some fascinating new technologies and ways of handling business, one of them being cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is a type of “asset” used to handle digital transactions and vary in value. You’re likely already familiar with “Bitcoin,” arguably the most well known and popular cryptocurrency today.

Because of this value, however, a type of malicious attack has also evolved with it: cryptojacking. Cryptojacking occurs when a third party installs malware on a system or website to use said infected system as a cryptominer. As for crypto mining, it’s a fairly complex process that involves solving a difficult equation, and the individual(s) responsible for solving said equation claim a form of cryptocurrency as their own. Where’s the money to be made, there are those who seek it – and thus donning their digital picks and helmets and industry is born.

The “problem” is, however, cryptomining requires serious computational power, and while there are those who cryptomine with legitimate processes, there are those who ask: why don’t I get others to crypto mine for me? This is where cryptojacking comes in. Once a system or website is infected, their resources are used to handle the crypto mining process – causing performance problems and potential data loss.

It’s not expected to go anywhere either, as it’s a growing “industry” and fairly easy to get into. Though the processes for solving equations is difficult, cryptomining kits are readily available on the dark web for inexpensive prices. As such, we’ll only see cryptojacking evolve with its digital currency counterpart.

Removing Cryptominers

One of the worst parts about cryptomining software is it can go undetected for months since the actual process isn’t intrusive. This doesn’t mean it’s benign, however, and can cause serious performance issues among other things. If you suspect your system has a cryptominer you didn’t install, here are a few ways to remove them:

1 – Identify whether your system, browser, or network has been affected by cryptojacking. 

2 – Utilize your anti-malware software and do a full scan. This is recommended for your PC, as cryptominers disguise themselves in PC processes and are challenging to detect.

3 – Check your browser for any unusual addons/plugins you didn’t install and remove them. Additionally, check for installed programs on your system.

Fortunately, removal is easy. However, prevention is often the best method for true protection. To best prevent the intrusion of cryptojacking, there are some additional steps to follow.

  • Keep informed on cryptojacking methods and strategies and understand how they infect systems
  • If you’re a small business, train staff in best practices for identifying and avoiding cryptojacking methods
  • Avoid suspicious links, websites, offers, emails, and the usual shady areas of the internet

Cryptojacking is expected to continue rising in popularity despite the chaotic nature of cryptocurrency, so it’s important to understand it as a potential threat vector towards your enterprise. For additional information, you can contact us at Bytagig.

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