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What is cryptojacking and how to avoid it.
12/27/2018

Cryptojacking and crypto mining are definitions closely related to each other. Even if you don’t mine or trade any cryptocurrency it is good to know what a cryptojacking attack is and how to avoid it. Cryptojacking is the process of mining crypto coins using the hardware of third-party person without their knowledge, carried out through a browser cryptojacking malware software. This method is used not only by “professional” hacking miners, but also by people who are looking for an easy and cheap way of mining cryptocurrencies.

Using other people’s computers for mining purposes was quite popular since the cryptocurrencies emerged and gained in value, but it was mostly hackers who committed such crimes. After all, this method requires specific knowledge and software. The hacker somehow needs to get into victim’s computer, infect the system and hope that owner or users of a computer will not notice the virus it was infected with.

Computer and web browser cryptojacking

These days mining through an Internet browsers makes this task much easier. All that’s needed is a special malicious software installed into the computer system or added to the website code. With that, the crypto mining hacker can be sure that the user of that computer or new visitors to particular website will start bringing him income.

Since cryptojacking became more popular, it is good to know how one can protect his computer against it. According to the Opera web browser, more than 3 million websites are infected with a malicious script for cryptocurrency mining. Which means that the problem is more serious and closer than you may think.

How web browser cryptojacking works?

When you open the website with malicious script, your computer’s processing power is used to mine cryptocurrency. It is important to remember that the hacker secretly mines cryptocurrency via your computer only when you are on the infected website. Therefore they make you stay there for as long as it is possible.

It is worth to mention, that hidden mining is not as harmful to your computer/device as other, more “traditional” viruses. However, it still slows down your computer or smartphone and, causes higher electricity bills. Most of all, your personal item and time are used to make someone rich, which is definitely irritating.

How to defend yourself against cryptojacking?

The best way is to observe your device. When you will notice, that despite the fact you do not open many data-consuming applications or programs, your processor is heavily used, you should definitely take a look at your CPU usage. If your processor reaches 100%, the hidden mining malware is almost certainly the suspect. In such a case, the first step you need to take is to close down the website which caused CPU overload and to be sure you did that, close all opened websites and reboot your device.

If you are a PC owner, you can also detect hidden mining with your cooling fan. When it starts to work louder and make noise, your CPU is overloaded. Unfortunately, this wy of cryptojacking detection works only on relatively new devices, since the heavy architecture of modern sites easily overloads any old computer system. It is also good to do a antivirus checkup with your antivirus software every now and then.

How to avoid cryptojacking?

You need to remember, that crypto mining programs used for cryptojacking are designed to be hidden or blend into other programs/websites. They attempt to make an impression of being legal or safe. Luckily, you may detect cryptojacking processes by simply observing your device. In general, it is better to protect your computer or other devices from the very beginning. It is best to follow a few simple rules to avoid unwanted mining hackers:

  • Use Opera browser, as it has a built-in anti-cryptojacking protection plugin by default or install such plugin to other web browsers;
  • Pay attention to your CPU activity, observe your device’s efficiency;
  • Install Malwarebytes or other anti-virus and anti-malware software and always keep your applications updated;
  • Install special web browsers extensions such as NoCoin or MinerBlock to protect your device against cryptojacking;
  • Do not open random emails and especially attachments from unknown senders.
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