Crypto Mining: What is Cryptojacking?

Cryptojacking is the unauthorised usage of someone else's computer processing power to mine cryptocurrency. Find out about how it works, its risks and how to prevent it.

The safety measures that have allowed cryptocurrency to thrive and become a staple part of our ever growing financial world are widely recognised. However, with crypto’s ingenuity comes individuals prepared to make profit through the loopholes the system presents. One method that operates in such a way is Cryptojacking.

Cryptojacking Definition

Cryptojacking is the unauthorised usage of someone else's computer processing power to mine cryptocurrency. Through a script that embeds itself into a computer, tablet, or mobile device, Cryptojacking software infiltrates and uses the victims processing power to mine crypto.

It is one of the most preferred methods for cybercriminals looking to make a quick profit without the consequences of incurring heavy energy based expenses, or in countries where crypto mining is illegal - simply breaking the law. Cryptomining is a process that consumes a lot of energy, which comes with a lot of cost, and for an individual to mine crypto themselves, it wouldn’t be so profitable without enough processing power for a farm. This is why a lot of cybercriminals instead, aim to make a decent profit through Cryptojacking.

How does Cryptojacking works?

The aim of the cybercriminals looking to cryptojack is to trick people into uploading or entertaining crypto jacking software or websites on their computer. There are a few ways in which people fall victim to Cryptojacking, such as:

  • Clicking on malicious links, often shared in emails, on social media, and even text messages, which can install crypto jacking software on the computer. Running in the background, such software can noticeably slow down the computer's processes.
  • Visiting infected websites or viewing infected online advertisements containing JavaScript codes that use the computers processing power to mine cryptocurrency. Many websites are hijacked and implanted with harmful scripts that exploit visitors' computers unknowingly.
  • Being infected by other computers through servers on networks. For example, Crytojackers have started to infiltrate vulnerable Microsoft Exchange servers. They can manoeuvre between different computers, jumping from one to the next through the server.

Reasons why Cryptojacking happens

Cryptocurrencies use blockchain to operate, and as they do the blockchain is updated with information about the transactions that have taken place. Every set of transactions form a block that is stored on the chain. Cryptocurrencies rely on individuals to provide processing power to form new blocks that add to the already established blockchain. The unique IDs of each transaction is a preventive measure against double spending, preventing owners of cryptocurrency from using the same crypto or token for a transaction.

As the individuals have helped mine the crypto and maintain the transactional record on the blockchain they are rewarded with cryptocurrency. This is the process of mining. In many countries this is a legal process where individuals and companies can mine crypto within regulation. This is where Cryptojackers step in, by utilising others' processing power to mine crypto and redirect the gains to external wallets.

What Are the Consecuences of Cryptojacking?

Unlike most other malware programs that infect computers, Cryptojacking scripts are essentially harmless. Here are the worst things about falling victim to cryptojacking:

  • Your computer might become noticeably slow, with productivity of your system and even Internet speed being affected.
  • Incurring of energy costs as the processing power is maximised, as well as the system overheating.
  • Impacting customers visiting a company service, which, in turn, impacts the business’ performance.

Preventive Measures

There are quite a few preventative measures, and along with other infections our computers can be subject to, it always makes sense to keep your computer devices in check:

  • Monitor your computer processing speeds and power usage. Check to see if there are any programs running that are utilising more than the usual.
  • Use Browsers that are designed to counter crytpojacking software e.g. Brave Browser, which alternatively mines BAT Token for you for viewing ads and using it.
  • Add Ad Blockers to your browsers and systems designed to block cryptojacking software and scripts.
  • Always keep your browser and anti-virus software up to date.

La inversión en criptoactivos no está regulada, puede no ser adecuada para inversores minoristas y se puede perder la totalidad del monto invertido.

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