What is Cryptojacking?

Cryptojacking is the secret, unauthorized use of a computer/computing device for the purpose of mining cryptocurrency. This is possible through several avenues, although most commonly it is accomplished through various hacking techniques. With the boom in the success of cryptocurrency, these cryptomining codes load within the victim’s browser, going to work for the hacker to mine cryptocurrency continuously.

As of now, cryptomining is still somewhat in its infancy. However, with its early success and expansive earning potential, many see it as easy money. In response, hackers have flocked to cryptojacking through various approaches, with malware, of course, being the most obvious vehicle for entry. Just as cryptomining is growing, so too is cryptojacking, with more hackers leeching in every day.

How Does Cryptojacking Occur?

From small-time hackers using malware against individuals to the entirety of a company’s computer system being poisoned, cryptojacking ranges in overall impact. Nevertheless, it is a threat that should be taken seriously. Most commonly, hackers are able to “infect” computers so to speak by getting victims to click on links within emails and the like. These are malicious and inevitably unload a JavaScript code that executes itself automatically. Therefore, common phishing techniques are as heavily employed as ever.

More often than not, cryptomining codes can run quite successfully in the background without even being suspected—unless, of course, you know what to look for. While there are only a few signs one might notice like lagging and poor performance, these are common symptoms caused by a multitude of issues. With recent research discovering over 33,000 sites running cryptomining scripts, it is important to take note all the same.

Why is Cryptojacking Popular?

While cryptomining practices are popular, it is not yet clear how much cryptocurrency is actually mined through cryptojacking. With cryptojacking running rampant among hackers worldwide, we are seeing a 31% growth rate of in-browser cryptojacking, having taken place over the past three years. These websites combined were estimated by Adguard to be receiving at least a billion visitors monthly, making it easy to understand why these sites were chosen.

So, why exactly is cryptojacking so popular? Because of the success of cryptocurrency, of course. In 2017 and 2018, we saw the success of cryptocurrency reaching all-time highs, with the industry itself evolving all the time. The overwhelming success of cryptocurrency naturally lit a flame under greedy hackers, increasing the rate of cryptojacking to disturbing heights. In fact, recent years have seen cryptojacking consume 35% of all web threats!

How to Prevent Cryptojacking

Cybersecurity is as important as ever in our ever-expanding digital world—especially with the growth and spread of relative cyber-attacks. With hackers using ransomware like techniques to leech their way into your computer, you can never be too safe. So, how does one prevent cryptomining scripts from taking over their browser? For starters, the installation of an ad-blocker or more specifically, an anti-cryptomining extension, is an excellent place to begin. Extensions like Ad Blocker Plus, No Coin, and MinerBlock are all eligible selections for keeping cryptojackers out.