The sooner you know what cryptojacking is, the sooner you will be prepared to prevent hackers from abusing your resources to mine cryptocurrencies for their own profit.
Yes, you’ve read correctly. You, who have always been interested in mining cryptocurrencies and have even read our article on how to mine the Ethereum can be mining crypts without even knowing it.
How? Through cryptojacking, which is the unauthorized use of computers, tablets, cell phones or domestic devices by cybercriminals to extract cryptocurrencies.
Cyber-crooks can ‘hijack’ someone else’s resources with just a few lines of code. This means that the victim has to bear the cost of the computing power and electricity costs required to extract cryptocurrencies, while the criminals take the prize.
How does cryptojacking work?
Mining cryptocurrencies on your own can be a long and expensive job. High electricity bills and expensive equipment are the main investment and key challenges for coin mining.
The more equipment you have working for you, the faster you can “extract” cryptos. Due to the large amount of time and resources invested in crypt mining, cryptojacking is highly attractive to cybercriminals.
There are several ways in which this type of attack can occur. One of the most popular methods, which we discussed in our article on how to avoid scams, is to use malicious emails that can install encrypted mining code on your computer.
This is done through a “phishing” strategy. Victims will receive seemingly harmless emails with links or attachments. By clicking on the link or downloading the attachment, we can execute the code to download the crypto-mining script onto your computer. The script then runs in the background without the victim’s knowledge.
The other method of cryptojacking is known as “web mining”. With this method, hackers insert encrypted mining scripts into a website or advertisements placed on various websites. When the victim visits the infected website, or if a malicious advertisement appears in the victim’s browser, the script will be executed automatically. This way, no code needs to be stored on the victim’s computer.
In both cases, the invading code can solve complex mathematical problems, mining crypto-currencies and sending the results to the hacker without the victim’s knowledge.
Zombie networks to mine cryptocurrencies
It is true that CPU mining is not very lucrative nowadays, but hackers are much smarter than us so they have already thought about how to solve it.
On the one hand they choose crypto currencies that are easy to mine with CPU, such as Monero, which is also extremely private and anonymous. On the other hand, they don’t limit themselves to infect only one user, but create what are called “zombie networks” among several victims in order to increase the computing power.
So while it could take a computer days to mine a single block of Monero, many computers can do it in a tenth of the time. The equation is simple: less time and more profit.
What is the impact of cryptojacking activities?
If we are victims of this attack, then cryptojacking can have a significant impact on our activities. Among these consequences, we can mention:
– The consumption of our computing resources is increased
Mining activity is a computationally intensive task. Even if this activity can be completed by the CPU, mining will consume a lot of computing power. While today’s CPUs have enough power to perform a large number of tasks simultaneously, when we talk about older devices, we will notice much more excessive consumption and wear and tear will be more obvious.
In addition to the increased use of computing power, power consumption will also increase. The more power the computer uses, the more expensive the electricity bill. To increase computing power, you need energy, more energy generates more heat and more energy consumption is required to handle this situation. All these factors increase the energy consumption of the whole system. In addition, the increase in temperature will shorten the life of the equipment. Indirect costs, which will affect the economy of the user or company under attack.
– Our productivity is reduced