August 07, 2022 - 8 min read
Cryptojacking is a threat that has become increasingly popular recently, especially in 2017 and 2018. Malicious crypto mining was the most frequently detected threat as of February 2018, up from the ninth in September 2017. In October of last year, it was proposed that cryptojacking would become the next big security issue. Instead, there was a fourfold increase in the detection of Android-based cryptojacking malware in the first three months of 2018.
Cryptojacking is a cybercrime in which another party uses computing resources to mine bitcoin or cryptocurrencies. It is also known as malicious crypto mining, enabling hackers to mine bitcoin without paying for power, hardware, or other mining resources.
Typically, cryptojacking malware attacks devices via regular phishing methods. It can also embed itself in websites and execute in the victim’s web browser when they visit those websites. Cryptojackers target personal computers, laptops, mobile devices, servers, and cloud-based infrastructures. They target everyone from ordinary people to international government entities.
Cryptojacking is a workaround for bitcoin miners who prefer not to utilize their resources to mine. The core concept of cryptojacking is that hackers use commercial and personal computer and device resources to mine cryptocurrency on their behalf. Using these compromised machines, cybercriminals siphon the currency they earn or steal into their digital wallet. As a result, the CPU performance of these infected systems is slowed, and more energy is required for processing.
Not only does cryptojacking include the theft of computer resources, but it also results in a drain on battery power and energy, both of which are paid for by the victim, unaware of what is happening. Last but not least, the lifespan of computer hardware will undoubtedly be shortened if it is subjected to excessive amounts of use and is overclocked.
The practice known as “cryptojacking” can take place in several different ways. Using malicious emails that contain code that can install cryptocurrency mining software on a computer is one of the more common methods. Phishing techniques are used to accomplish this goal. The victim receives an email that appears to contain no malicious content and either a link or an attachment. When clicked, the crypto mining script or extension is downloaded onto the computer. This triggers the execution of a piece of code. After that, the script is executed covertly in the background without the victim’s knowledge.
The term for this type of miner is “web browser miner.” Hackers use this technique to mine cryptocurrency by inserting a script that mines cryptocurrency onto a website or an advertisement that is placed on many websites. The script will automatically run if the victim visits the infected website or if the malicious ad appears in the victim’s browser. Both of these scenarios are considered successful executions. Using this approach, no malicious malware will be left behind on the victim’s PC.
You might detect some symptoms, just like with any malicious software infection.
Downloading malware that executes crypto mining scripts, hijacking IT infrastructure, and accessing cloud services are the three primary methods that cryptojackers employ to mine cryptocurrency in a harmful manner. Cryptojackers are also known as crypto miners.
The file-based form of cryptojacking involves downloading and executing malicious software as an executable file, which then distributes a crypto mining script throughout the IT infrastructure. Using malicious emails is one of the most common methods via which cryptojacking can occur.
An email is sent out with a link or attachment that appears legitimate but is malicious. When a user clicks on the extension or the link, the code downloads the crypto mining script into the machine. This happens when the user interacts with malicious content. This script runs in the background, unseen by the user, and does its tasks.
Attacks such as cryptojacking can happen right within a user’s web browser and use the victim’s computer equipment to mine cryptocurrencies. Hackers will first construct a crypto mining script in a programming language of their choosing, and then they will implant that script into a variety of websites.
Hackers who utilize cloud cryptojacking look through a company’s files and code in search of API keys to access the organization’s cloud services. Once they have gained access, hackers will immediately begin to steal infinite CPU resources for crypto mining, resulting in a significant increase in account expenses. Additionally, hackers can significantly speed up their cryptojacking operations to illicitly mine for cryptocurrency if they utilize this strategy.
Due to its evolution into a multi-vector attack that spans endpoint, server, and cloud resources, preventing cryptojacking requires a coordinated and comprehensive defense strategy. The following steps can help prevent enterprise resources from being exploited by cryptojacking.
Typically, cryptojammers seek the lowest-hanging fruit they can stealthily harvest; this includes scanning for publicly accessible servers with older vulnerabilities. However, basic server hardening techniques such as patching, disabling unnecessary services, and eliminating external footprints can significantly reduce the danger of server-based assaults.
IT personnel should be trained to recognize and comprehend cryptojacking. In addition, they must be aware of any early warning signs of an attack and be prepared to investigate immediately.
IT teams rely on employees to report overheated or sluggish computers. Employees must understand cyber security to avoid clicking on links in emails that may contain cryptojacking code and to only download files from known links.
Cryptojacking scripts are frequently implemented in web browsers. You can block cryptojackers across the web with specialized browser extensions, such as minerBlock, No Coin, and Anti Miner. They can be installed as extensions in several popular web browsers.
Since cryptojacking scripts are frequently distributed through internet advertisements, installing an ad blocker can prevent them. Ad-blocking software, such as AdBlocker Plus, can detect and block cryptojacking codes.
The cornerstone of this is deploying endpoint protection and anti-malware that can detect crypto miners, as well as maintaining web filters up-to-date and managing browser extensions to reduce the chance of browser-based script execution. Ideally, organizations should seek endpoint protection technologies extending to servers and beyond.
Cryptojacking is one of the most significant risks to mobile security that you should take seriously. Fortunately, it is also one of the most accessible mobile security threats since it can be stopped with vigilance and simple browser extensions. However, it can be challenging to detect the intrusion manually, whether locally on your PC or through the browser, after it has already occurred. Cryptojacking can happen either way. Similarly, tracking down the source of the excessive use of the CPU might be challenging. Processes may be concealing themselves or disguising themselves as something legal to prevent you from putting a stop to the abuse. By utilizing an MDR service provider, you will be able to detect attacks of this nature because this provider will see an increase in activity that is not typical for your networks.
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