Are Hackers Using Your Device to Mine Cryptocurrency?

Unknown to many, cryptocurrency can be traced back to the 1980s. Back then, it was referred to as cyber currency. Cryptocurrency gained popularity during the 2008/2009 period with the introduction of Bitcoin. With the rise in the value and use of cryptocurrency, cybercriminals are now hacking investors’ accounts and stealing from their cryptocurrency wallets or using the victims’ devices to mine cryptocurrency. They use tools such as Haiduc and Xhide to facilitate their activities. The most common technique used by hackers is Cryptojacking which sprang up towards the end of 2017.

What is Cryptojacking? 

This is a technique where malicious software is installed into a victim’s device, where it embeds itself and uses its resources and the processing resources of the victim’s device to mine cryptocurrency. Cryptojacking can also be browser-based, meaning that by visiting certain websites, you may end up being a victim of cryptojacking.

Examples of Cryptojacking

Examples of cryptojacking may include;

  • The Kobe Bryant Wallpaper, was a wallpaper of Kobe Bryant with malicious code hidden in it.
  • The MyKings botnet.
  • Vivin.

The victims do not surprisingly end up with wallets full of cryptocurrency despite their devices being used for mining, as one would have thought. Instead, the mined cryptocurrency goes straight back to the hacker. A single hacked device would earn the hacker a negligible amount of cryptocurrency. However, with millions of devices, the hacker makes a lot.

How Do You Know you are a Victim of Cryptojacking?

Once a cybercriminal hacks a device and installs cryptojacking software, which is usually the common cryptocurrency mining software that has been modified to run quietly in the background, it begins mining cryptocurrency or stealing from the victim’s wallet, depositing the cryptocurrency into the hacker’s wallet.

The software may have characteristics of worms hence being able to multiply and spread in a network infecting other devices and servers. While other malware damages the victims’ devices or compromise their data, cryptojacking software steals the processing resources, resulting in decreased performance and increased CPU usage on the victim’s device.

What You Should Look Out for and Necessary Precaution

Cryptojacking software may end up on your device through online advertisements which have scripts that run automatically once the advertisement is loaded on your browser. Hackers may also install it by getting a victim to click a malicious link that install the software.

You can protect yourself from crypto-jacking in several ways, whether it is malware or browser-based. If it is browser-based, you can do so by:

  • Disabling JavaScript in your browser.
  • Using script blocking software such as NoScript.
  • Using advertisement blockers.
  • You should also download software from official websites only and avoid pirating files.

Bottom-line, investing in cryptocurrency should not scare you.

Image Source: Adobe Stock

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.