Have YOU been “cryptojacked?” Bitcoin miners are hacking computers; experts explain how to find out if you’ve been hit

Saturday, July 14, 2018 by

Computer users may want to double check if something – or someone – is latching onto their devices, as experts recently raised the alarm on cryptojacking. Tech experts defined cryptojacking as an online activity that aims to exploit an untapped resource to develop an alternative revenue stream for games or media sites and simultaneously reduce the need to advertise.

“We’ve seen malicious websites use embedded scripting to deliver malware, force ads, and force browsing to specific websites. We’ve also seen malware that focuses on either stealing cryptocurrency wallets or mining in the background. Combine the two together and you have a match made in hell,” said Karl Sigler, threat intelligence research manager at SpiderLabs.

According to experts, cryptojacking works by embedding a JavaScript component in a website that can tap into a visiting device’s processing power. Doing so would enable hackers to mine a cryptocurrency, the experts said. The experts added that while each visitor might do only a bit of mining while inside the website, the combined power from all visits may be enough to generate real money over time. Furthermore, the experts cautioned that users may inadvertently do some mining even without their knowledge. (Related: SEC crackdown on Bitcoin accelerates with de-listing of publicly-traded Bitcoin capital firm, accused of hyping the bubble.)

Find out and fend off potential cryptojacking activities

Tech experts also raised concerns on the increasing number of cryptojacking activities over the past few months. Likewise, the experts noted that the activities have already taken a toll on the users’ devices and electricity bill by getting all the CPU cycles required to carry out cryptojacking.

“There was a steady increase in CoinHive usage through late November and early December, presumably driven by the surge in cryptocurrency valuations. It’s hard to guess the motivation of an unknown website operator, but based on an analysis of our detection data for the month of November, most coinmining sites were doing it on purpose, and a significant majority were taking all the CPU they could get,” Paul Ducklin, senior technologist at the security firm Sophos, said in a Wired.com entry.

According to tech experts, users affected by cryptojacking often experience slower internet connection and slower processing speeds. A computer embedded with a JavaScript for cryptojacking may also drain its battery much faster than usual, experts wrote in a Daily Mail article. The experts added that users wanting to prevent potential cryptojacking activities should install a software tool, such as an ad-blocker, that will continuously monitor potential red flags.

Visit Cyberwars.news and be on the lookout for the latest stories about cyber crime.

Sources include:

Wired.com 1

Wired.com 2

DailyMail.co.uk



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