With the rise in the monetary value of cryptocurrencies, it was only logical for hackers to devise ways to utilize this new currency. Although this digital currency has built-in protection, hackers are finding ways to steal the currency. News about hacking cryptocurrency exchanges is on the rise. Another method that hackers have found to make money in this new gold-rush is “Cryptojacking”.

What is Cryptojacking?

Cryptojacking is a secret use of someone else’s computing power to mine cryptocurrency. Most of the times, the victim doesn’t even realize that his/her desktop, laptop or even mobile is being used to mine the coins. They will notice if when their CPU usage goes beyond a certain level and they start noticing the slowness.

Cryptjacking – steal CPU cycles from other devices

This happens when a user visits an infected site through a browser. When the website is loaded, the site also loads malicious javascript into the browser and the script starts mining the coins. Until the tab is open, the script can continue to execute and mine coins – but for the hacker! In these cases, a hacker doesn’t need to install any software on victim’s device and that is why it is difficult to detect such activity.

Origin of Cryptojacking

This technique was released by a company called Coinhive. The script was developed to start mining coins for Cryptocurrency Monero through javascript. Soon there were copycats of Coinhive and Cryptojacking started spreading faster. There have been many news items stating that several websites, including government websites, have been infected as of today.

The primary reason, hackers are using some other devices’ computing power is that coin mining takes huge computing resources. If a hacker can distribute the mining work to several devices, his/her mining speed increases and thus the chances of acquiring this digital currency.

There’s an interesting side to this story. Some website owners saw this as an opportunity to earn some money on the side, by stealing some CPU cycles from their site visitors devices. This could be in lieu of showing less or no advertisements on the site or even otherwise. However, the problem is that this usage of CPU cycles happens without user’s knowledge and consent.

How to protect from Cryptojacking?

Some ad blocker tools have started recognizing this new threat and have provided solutions. There is also an extension to chrome browser – “No Coin” which stops such unauthorized use of the device.

Related Links

Related Keywords

Cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, Mining, Blockchain

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