Hackers can never be satiated with the money they’re making off people. So there is no wonder that malefactors come up with new approaches all the time. Cryptojacking is one of such relatively recent methods that were invented after the rise of cryptocurrency. In this article, we will talk about this cyberthreat, ways to detect that you’ve become a victim, and methods that will let you prevent suffering from cryptojacking.
What is cryptojacking?
Let’s begin with the terminology. Cryptojacking is an unauthorized usage of a computer with a goal of mining cryptocurrency. This cyber threat became quite significant in the past few years, and hackers have different ways of turning machines into their own cryptocurrency farms without the consent of the owner of this computer.
For example, malefactors can trick a user into downloading the cryptomining code through phishing. A victim clicks on a seemingly legitimate link that brings them to a page with malicious code. This code then places the cryptomining script on the device. The script runs on the background, and often victims aren’t aware of it.
Also, hackers place such scripts through ads or inject them directly if they could connect to a computer and enter it through the network.
Scripts come in different forms — there even are worm-like kinds that can infect a whole network. They are the most difficult to remove as it’s not easy to clean the network completely. Moreover, scripts can contain various versions of the code to make it suitable for as many network architectures as possible.
Cryptojacking scripts are rather smart, hard to detect, and get rid of. And while they don’t really harm the data on the infected computer, they’re using its resources to mine cryptocurrency for hackers. Therefore, victims who caught a cryptomining script will quite likely notice that their devices became much slower and less efficient.
Why cryptojacking became such a big problem?
The answer is simple — because it allows hackers to make quite a lot of money without putting much effort into it. So there is no wonder that malefactors turn to it. However, the volatility of cryptocurrency and the closing of Coinhive which was the biggest cryptominer made the cases of cryptojacking fall down significantly — in the second half of 2019 there were 78% fewer attacks.
Yet, despite the decline, we shouldn’t suppose that cryptojacking is in the past. On the contrary, it is in its infancy. Experts think that there is a lot of potential in this technique, and even though hackers might’ve forgotten it, for now, they will return to the malicious mining in the future.
Cryptojacking has one huge advantage — you don’t need any special skills to perform this cybercrime. One can find ready-to-use kits for just $30 on the dark web. Therefore, it’s a rather cheap and simple alternative to ransomware even though cryptojacking is less profitable. Also, it’s a source of continuous revenue. So we shouldn’t neglect the risk of getting a victim of cryptojacking.
How to understand you’ve become a victim?
The most obvious sign would be that your device became much slower than it used to be and the change has happened rather suddenly. You’ll notice that it heats much more and faster, and the fan is working all the time. Also, advanced antiviruses can detect the cryptomining script. And that’s about it — it is much better to prevent getting infected.
How to stay protected from cryptojacking?
There are several steps that will safeguard you from becoming a victim. It’s better that you perform all of them instead of sticking to just a couple of methods.
Install an antivirus
It’s quite an obvious step, and you should always have your devices protected with a good antivirus. A lot of providers offer quite sustainable security for free — you can stick to well-trusted Avast, Kaspersky, or Bitdefender. Just make sure to perform quick research to see how well did an antivirus handle malware recently.
Practice safe internet browsing
It’s rather simple to avoid phishing and stay safeguarded online:
● Avoid opening emails from unknown senders
● Don’t click on suspicious links
● Get used to checking a link before clicking on it. Just hover your cursor over a link and look in the lower-left corner (for Chrome-based browser) to see the real link
● Don’t enter websites without an SSL certificate — Google will warn you
Since often cryptomining scripts are incorporated into ads, you can avoid getting infected by hiding as many banners and pop-ups with an ad-blocking extension as possible. Some adblockers can even detect cryptomining scripts, or you can get a separate extension for this task.
Keep your extensions clean
Sometimes hackers run scripts through browser extensions, so be aware of what you’re installing. Stick to as few extensions as possible and don’t install tools that come from an unknown developer.
Use a VPN
Hackers can inject a cryptomining script through an unprotected WiFi. And the truth is that usually public routers are not secure at all as no one is bothered to set up the protection and update the system. Therefore, once you connect to a public network, you expose your device to a potential threat. A VPN can solve this problem easily. Simply turn on iNinja every time you have to use a public WiFi, and the VPN will cover your IP address thus making you invisible to hackers. The will see that there is someone connected to the router, but they will lack data to crawl into your device.
All these techniques will protect you not only from cryptojacking but from numerous other cyber threats. So be sure to have an antivirus installed, avoid clicking suspicious links and visiting unprotected websites, and use iNinja to keep yourself anonymous online. Our VPN will protect your privacy and your device while not slowing down your connection speed significantly. You won’t even notice that you’re rerouting your connection with iNinja.