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Cryptojacking and Other Cryptocurrency Crimes

 

While the internet has put the world at our fingertips and changed the way we live our lives, how we communicate, learn, and conduct business, it also has a dark side where cybercriminals can take advantage of you as they are using more advanced and sophisticated methods.

Cryptojacking is a new way for criminals to make illegal money using somebody else's hardware.

With just a website that you open on your browser, you can end up maxing out your CPU to mine cryptocurrency as malware. Cryptojacking is becoming extremely common.

 

What are Cryptocurrency Crimes?

The problem with regulating authorities is that as of yet, there is no clear legal status of cryptocurrency.

Governments all over the world are finding it hard to regulate the operations somehow.

This is the prime reason why cryptocurrency crimes cannot be forecasted or appropriately punished.

One of the most popular cryptocurrency crimes was concerning an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) in 2017 which was conducted by fraudulent individuals who stole money from digital wallets through hacking and obtained sensitive information on the users illegally.

  • Other times, a lot of user information has been compromised and stolen when using unverified cryptocurrency exchanges, and transactions were made.

 

What is Cryptojacking?

Cryptojacking is an attack on your computing system in which the attacker runs its cryptocurrency mining software without your permission on your hardware.

While the attacker mines the cryptocurrency successfully and sells it for a profit, your CPU will be overburdened and you can’t do anything else.

  • To mine cryptocurrency, it requires complex math equations that need to solve, requiring a lot of CPU power.

So, in a typical Cryptojacking attack, the hacker would be maxing out the user's CPU power.

On the other hand, if it is a laptop, the battery would run out faster.

Even for a desktop, it will end up using more electricity. Since the high costs of power make it challenging to mine cryptocurrency profitably, with Cryptojacking the hacker does have to pay the bills and ends up getting the profits.

Hackers do this by either getting unsuspecting users to click on a malicious link on an email that has a cryptocurrency mining code or by infecting an online ad or a particular website which auto-executes.

 

Which Devices can be Cryptojacked?

Any computing device that can run software can be used for cryptocurrency mining.

  • The main aim of the hacker is to make the device run the mining software.

There are also "Drive-by" attacks, which can be done against any form of device that has a browser, this includes Mac, Windows PC, Linux system, Android phones, Chromebook, iPad, and iPhones.

As long as there is a webpage that has an embedded mining script open in your computer's browser, the hacker can easily make use of your CPU to mine cryptocurrency.

  • They would, however, lose that access if you navigate away from that page or close the browser.

Hackers also use Cryptojacking malware, which works similarly to other computer malware.

If the hacker can trick you into installing their malware or take advantage of a security hole, they can run a mining script as a background process on your PC, no matter what kind of computer system you are using since the attacker can sneak in and do the mining in mobile apps as well, especially on Android.

 

 

How to Protect Yourself from Cryptojacking

Since anyone and everyone can have their computers hacked into, we must have some form of protection, as we have from different viruses. 

It is recommended to run security software which can automatically block any threat from cryptocurrency miners on your browsers.

  • For example, Malwarebytes is a good option, which automatically blocks out CoinHive and any other cryptocurrency mining scripts and prevents them from running on your PC.

Apart from the security software installed for your protection, you can also have a browser extension that can provide a blacklist of mining scripts.

Whether you have an Android device, iPhone, or iPad, the hackers can break into your phone any chance they get.

The best way is to navigate away from the page, where the hackers are mining the cryptocurrency or close or change tabs on your browser.

For MAC, Windows PC, Chromebook, or Linux system, even if you have the tabs open in the background this can allow a website to use your CPU power as much as they want. However, if there is security software installed on your operating system, then it can block these mining scripts.

 

How to Detect Cryptojacking on Your Computer

Thankfully, there is a way to see whether your PC is being used for Cryptojacking and if someone has been using it to mine.

As mentioned earlier, mining cryptocurrency is CPU intensive, as such, if somebody has been using your PC, you will notice a significant increase in the usage of your CPU. T

here are a few simple steps to see whether your PC has been used for Cryptojacking.

  • If you are using a PC running Windows, you would need to find it out through the Windows Task Manager.
  • To open it, press CTRL+ALT+DELETE simultaneously. In the screen or window that appears, select "Task Manager."

Once you have clicked on the Task Manager option, you then need to click the "Processes" tab and then look for your browser’s name.

  • Click on the arrow next to your browser name and expand all of the tabs which you have opened. This way, the usage of the CPU will break down according to each tab.

If you notice that one such browser which is using a large amount of CPU power significantly as compared to the rest, then the chances are that the site is using your computer for mining the cryptocurrency coins, or more simply, it is being used for Cryptojacking.

Alternatively, the "Resource Monitor Tool" can also be used.

For MAC users, they can perform the same thing by running the Activity Monitor.

  • To do that, press COMMAND+SPACE and then search for "Activity Monitor".
  • If you are using Chrome, then it can be checked using the built-in task manager by going to its menu.
  • Once you are on the Menu, you have to go on More Tools and finally on the Task Manager.

 

Conclusion

Overall, one can never be careful enough when it comes to being vigilant about hackers, whether it is for Cryptojacking or other purposes.

As far as cryptocurrency crimes and Cryptojacking is concerned, as long as there will be the cryptocurrency for the taking, there will be some crypto crime present.

The hackers may evolve their tactics for getting their hands on your computer system somehow or the other, and we must be more vigilant than ever.

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