November 20, 2020Authors: Emily Glazier and Henry Kenyon
What is Cryptojacking?
Cryptojacking is an online threat where someone is able to penetrate through a systems firewall and run strategic mathematical code in the background. The user who is getting “jacked” does not know that there is an intruder within their system. Once the processes are complete, the information is then sent back to the intruder. There isn’t a trace left behind of the attacker’s presence on the system. This strategy of online attacking started in September of 2017 when Bitcoin was at its height. The attacks primarily come in three different forms. There are file, browser, and cloud based.
How Does it Happen?
The Comparison Between Cryptojacking and Ransomware Attacks Over Time
Though many people are familiar with ransomware attacks, it is evident with research that many people are being left in the dark, and have no knowledge of cryptojacking. The graph below shows the relationship between Cryptojacking vs. Ransomware Attacks over 2018. It shows a significant increase (positive correlation) in Cryptojacking crimes, peaking in December. This data is from IBM. International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is a multinational computer technology and IT support corporation that develops computers and hardware that people can purchase. As shown in the graph, in the first Quarter of 2018 there was a 45% decrease in the number of ransomware attacks and that is due to the fact that cryptojacking can get someone more money, it is faster, and they’re able to leave no traces of their presence on the system.
Cryptojacking vs. Ransomware Attacks in 2018
Signs of Possible Intrusion
There are several signs of being cryptojacked, which include:
A significant decrease in the systems speed performance
Windows opening on their own
CMD window opening on its own
Increased electricity bill
Increased use of cooling fan
How to Protect Yourself
There are several methods to protect your devices from falling victim to cryptojacking.
Installing NoCoin extensions, that blocks cryptojacking in browsers such as Chrome and Firefox
Installing MalwareBytes, which blocks cryptojacking on Windows, Mac, and Chromebook
Scanning for malware on your device using anti-virus software