Cryptojacking software is a type of cybercrime that involves the unauthorized use of individuals’ devices (computers, smartphones, tablets, or even servers) by cybercriminals to extract digital currency. Like many types of cybercrime, it is motivated by profit, but unlike other threats, it is designed to be completely hidden from the victim.
What is Cryptojacking?
Cryptojacking software is a threat that embeds itself in a computer or mobile device and then uses its resources to extract digital currency. Cryptocurrency is digital or virtual money in the form of tokens or “coins”. The most popular are bitcoins, but there are about 3,000 other forms of digital currencies, and while some digital currencies have entered the physical world through credit cards or other projects, most are virtual.
Encrypted currencies use a distributed database called the Blockchain. Blockchain is regularly updated with information on all transactions that have taken place since the last update. Each set of recent transactions is combined into a “block” using a complex mathematical process.
To generate new blocks, digital currencies rely on individuals to provide computing power. Digital currencies reward people who provide computing power with cryptocurrencies. Those who trade computing resources in foreign currency are called “miners.”
Larger digital currencies use teams of miners who run proprietary masts to complete mathematical calculations. This activity requires a significant amount of electricity – for instance, the Bitcoin network currently consumes more than 73 terawatt hours of energy per year.
How does Cryptojacking software work?
Cybercriminals hack devices to install Cryptojacking software. The software works in the background, extracting digital currencies or stealing encrypted wallets. Uninformed victims usually use their devices, although they may notice slower or delayed performance. Hackers have two main ways to force a victim machine to secretly extract digital currencies:
- By clicking on a malicious link in an email, that downloads the encryption code to the computer.
Hackers often use both methods to maximize their efficiency. In both cases, it places a Cryptojacking script code on the device, which runs in the background while the victim works. Whichever method is used, the script executes complex mathematical problems on the victim devices and sends the results to a server controlled by the hacker.
Unlike other types of malware, Cryptojacking scripts do not harm victims’ computers or data. However, they stole computer-processing resources. For individual users, slower computer performance can be simply annoying. However, an encryption jack is a problem for businesses because organizations that have many encrypted systems incur real costs. For example:
- Use the IT help desk and spend time tracking performance issues and replacing components or systems in hopes of solving the problem.
- Increase electricity costs.
Some encryption scripts have worming capabilities that allow them to infect other devices and servers on a network. This makes them more difficult to identify and remove. These scripts may also check if the device has already been infected by competing for cryptographic malware. If another cryptominer is detected, the script will disable it.
Malicious versions of Cryptojacking will not be allowed and will continue for a long time after leaving the original site. This is a technique used by owners of suspicious sites or hackers who have compromised legitimate sites. Users do not know that the site they visited used their computer to extract digital currency. The code uses enough system resources to be ignored. Although the user thinks that the visible browser windows are closed, a hidden window remains open. It can often be a poppy the size of which sits under the taskbar or behind the clock.
Cryptojacking softwares even infect Android mobile devices using the same methods that target desktops. Some attacks occur through a hidden Trojan in a downloaded application. Alternatively, users’ phones can be redirected to an infected site, where pop-ups remain permanent. While individual phones have relatively limited processing power, when attacks occur in large numbers, they provide enough collective power to justify cryptocurrency efforts.
Examples of Cryptojacking software
WannaMine version 4.0 and its predecessors use EternalBlue to exploit hosts. Stores EternalBlue exploitation binaries in a C: \ Windows directory called “Network Distribution”. This type of WannaMine is a random dll. Creates a service name based on a list of hard-coded strings. This is how it maintains durability on the host.
BadShell is a fileless malware that does not include downloads. It uses native Windows processes such as PowerShell, Task Scheduler, and Registry, which make it particularly difficult to detect.
Graboid is an encryption worm that is deployed using Docker Engine (Community Edition) containers. Graboid is not overlooked by traditional end-point protection solutions that do not monitor activity inside containers.
PowerGhost is another fileless malware script that uses native Windows tools to infect workstations and servers on corporate networks. Gains a foothold in the environment through remote access tools or exploits.
FaceXWorm uses social engineering to trick Facebook Messenger users into clicking on a fake YouTube link. The fake site asks the user to download a Chrome plugin to view the content, but what the plugin actually does is hijack their victims ‘Facebook accounts to spread the link on their friends’ networks. FaceXWorm does more than steal users’ systems to extract digital currency: It also tracks credentials when users try to access certain sites, such as Google and MyMonero, and users trying to access legitimate digital currency exchange platforms. Guides. The amount of digital currency as part of the authentication process, and redirects users to other malicious sites.
Black-T targets AWS customers using the displayed Docker Daemon APIs. The malware can also use scanning tools to detect other daemon APIs exposed to Docker to further extend its cryptographic operations.
How to detect Cryptojacking software
Cryptojacking can be difficult to detect since the process is often hidden or resembles a philanthropic activity on your device. However, here are three signs to look out for:
Three Things to Look for Cryptojacking software Detection:
- Decreased performance
One of the key signs of Cryptojacking is the declining performance of your computing devices. Slower systems can be the first sign that you need to be careful, so be careful if your device is slow, broken, or performing unusually poor performance. Charging your battery faster than usual is another potential indicator.
- Overheating Cryptojacking is a resource-intensive process that can cause computing devices to overheat. This can damage the computer or shorten its lifespan. If your laptop or computer fan is running faster than usual, this could indicate that a script or Cryptojacking website is warming up your device, and your fan is working to prevent it from melting or catching fire.
- Use of central processing unit (CPU)
If you see an increase in CPU usage when you are on a website with little or no media content, it could be a sign that Cryptojacking scripts are running. A good cryptographic test is to check your device’s CPU usage using Activity Monitor or Task Manager. However, keep in mind that processes may disguise themselves or legitimize something that will prevent you from stopping your abuse. In addition, when your computer is running at full capacity, it runs very slowly and is therefore more difficult to troubleshoot.
How to protect yourself against Cryptojacking
The followings are Cryptojacking software protection deeds you can do:
Use a good cybersecurity program
A comprehensive cybersecurity program such as Kaspersky total security helps identify threats across the screen and can provide protection against cryptojacking software. As with other malware precautions, it is best to install security before you become a victim. It is also a good practice to install the latest software updates and patches for your operating system and all applications – especially web browser applications.
Be aware of the latest cybersecurity program trends
Cybercriminals are constantly changing the code and offering new delivery methods to embed updated scripts in your computer system. Being active and aware of the latest cyber security threats can help you detect Cryptojacking software on your network and devices and prevent other types of cyber security threats.
Use browser plug-ins designed to prevent Cryptojacking software
Cryptojacking software is often deployed in web browsers. You can use specialized browser plug-ins to block passwords across the web, such as minerBlock, No Coin and Anti Miner. They are installed as extensions in some popular browsers.
Because Cryptojacking scripts are often provided through online advertising, installing an ad blocker can be an effective tool to stop them. Using an ad blocker such as Ad Blocker Plus can detect and block malicious code.
Block pages known to deliver Cryptojacking software
To prevent encrypted theft when visiting websites, make sure that each site you visit is carefully checked in a white list. You can also blacklist sites known as “encryption jacks”, but your device or network may still be exposed to new “Encryption Warfare” pages.
Cryptojacking software may seem like a relatively harmless crime because the only thing that is “stolen” is the victim’s computer power. However, the use of computing power for this criminal purpose without the knowledge or consent of the victim is in the interest of the criminals who illegally generate currency. We recommend that you follow good cybersecurity practices to minimize the risks and install cybersecurity or reliable internet security on all your devices.
The bottom line
Cryptojacking first appeared as a major cyber security threat in 2018. At the time, this was one of the most common malware because cybercriminals exploited the increasing value of digital currencies. After the fall of the value of many digital currencies in 2019, cryptocurrency attacks have declined until recently.
In 2021, the rise in the price of digital currencies has created a new interest in cryptocurrency attacks. While the original in-browser Cryptojacking software, Coinhive, is no longer working, multiple copy scripts are still active. In addition, Cryptojacking software targets IoT devices, cell phones, computers, and routers.
The modern cryptocurrency attacking is not just focused on extracting digital currency. Instead, cybercriminals use their access to achieve multiple goals, such as a combination of cryptography and data theft. These combined attacks provide cybercriminals with many ways to monetize their exploits.
Is Cryptojacking software a ransomware?
Cryptojacking is becoming a popular attack vector. According to a recent report by Kaspersky Lab, “ransomware is rapidly disappearing and digital currency mining has begun to replace it.” There are several reasons why this trend is likely to continue.
Is Cryptojacking software utilization legal?
Cryptojacking may seem like a harmless crime, because the only thing that is “stolen” is the victim’s computer power. However, the use of computational power for this criminal purpose without the knowledge or consent of the victim is in the interest of the perpetrator who illegally generates currency.