In particular, a cryptojacking attack in January 2018 – the Smominru crypto mining botnet – targeted Windows servers to mine Monero. It exploited more than half a million machines in India, Taiwan, and Russia, which had amassed $3.6 million by the end of January.
Cybercriminals utilize cryptojacking by hacking into peoples’ businesses and personal computers to install malicious software. The software can use your computer’s power and resources without you knowing to mine cryptocurrencies or steal your cryptocurrency wallets. According to Digital Shadows, cryptojacking is not that hard these days.
It’s because anybody can access cryptojacking kits on the dark web for as little as $30. That’s why this article talks about what cryptojacking is while giving a few examples of cryptojacking attacks. It also discusses various ways of detecting cryptojacking and how to avoid cryptojacking ultimately.
What is Cryptojacking?
Cryptojacking describes the unauthorized use of someone else’s computer to conduct cryptocurrency mining. There are several ways that hackers accomplish this. One is when you click on a malicious link in a website that permits a crypto mining code on your computer.
How to Detect Cryptojacking
Cryptojacking can potentially affect your computer and your entire business operation. However, detecting cryptojacking is quite tricky since crypto mining scripts can easily evade detection. As such, you should be extra vigilant in securing your computers from cryptojackers at all times. You can use some of the methods below to detect cryptojacking before it’s too late.
- Reduction in computing performance – A decrease in your computing performance is one of the top symptoms to look out for. If any of your devices like desktops, laptops, and mobile devices display slower performance, it can result from crypto mining. You should educate your employees to beware of decreasing performance, and if any, they should immediately report to the IT team to try and solve the issue.
- Overheating – You should beware of overheating your devices since cryptojacking is a resource-intensive process that can cause computing devices to overheat. As a result of overheating, you might notice your fans running longer than they should to try and cool down the system. Always watch out for overheating because it can damage your computer or shorten its lifespan.
Examples of Cryptojacking
Cryptojacking kick-started in September of 2017 when Bitcoin skyrocketed, reaching an all-time high at the time. Coinhive later published a code on their website that was meant to be a mining tool for website owners. In particular, they could earn a passive income by exhibiting ads on their sites, but it later shut down in 2019.
Cybercriminals realized they could take advantage of Coinhive to establish their crypto mining scripts. They could utilize the computing resources of visitors to the website to mine for cryptocurrency, Monero in particular. Since then, Monero has been involved in several other cryptojacking investigations.
Second is the modular and multi-staged botnet, the Prometei, which mines the cryptocurrency Monero. Prometei utilizes several ways to infect devices and spread via multiple networks. Cybereason discovered in 2021 that Prometei was taking advantage of Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities used in the Hafnium attacks to install malware and steal people’s credentials. Prometei would later exploit the infected devices to mine Monero.
Third, in June 2020, some cryptojackers used Docker images on the Docker Hub network to infect a crypto mining malware to user’s computers. Cryptojackers realized that they could avoid detection by placing the cryptomining code within a Docker image. However, Palo Alto Networks discovered the cryptojacking scheme, but people had accessed the Docker images more than two million times, and the cryptojackers had maliciously earned $36,000.
How to Prevent Cryptojacking
Instead of waiting for a cryptojacking attack to find ways of stopping it, it’s better to find ways of staying clear of them from the start. These are a few ways that you can use to prevent any form of cryptojacking on any of your devices.
You should consider some security awareness training for you and your team because it can help protect you if technical solutions fail. Although, training your team might not be the best solution with auto-executing cryptojacking from legitimate websites. It’s because you can’t tell users which websites not to go to. It might help prevent malicious cryptojacking attempts.
Cryptojackers mostly deliver cryptojacking scripts through web ads. Installing an ad blocker or an anti-crypto mining extension on your website might be a significant way of preventing them. For example, AdBlocker Plus is an effective tool for detecting crypto mining scripts, and MinerBlock can efficiently detect and block such scripts.
Another way to prevent cryptojacking is by using endpoint protection which can detect known crypto miners. In particular, Antivirus is a good tool to have on endpoints because it can detect and protect you from crypto mining.
It’s crucial to prevent your websites from cryptojackers; that’s why you should ensure your web filtering tools are up to date. You should steer clear of any particular webpage that tends to deliver cryptojacking scripts. Also, you should ensure other users are blocked from ever gaining access to the website.