You could be a victim of cryptojacking and not even know it
This invisible cybercrime is on the rise in 2022
Cryptojacking is a form of cyberattack in which a criminal deposits software onto your phone, tablet, or computer to “mine” for cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. The software works invisibly in the background to generate cryptocurrency—essentially a form of digital money—that the attacker makes a profit from. For the victim, the act of mining the cryptocurrency is an intensive operation that requires a ton of processing power and uses up your device’s resources.
The end results? Your systems begin to work slower and slower, and it’s usually not even apparent why.
Why is cryptojacking a thing?
The value of cryptocurrencies has grown exponentially in recent years. The most famous of which, Bitcoin, was worth about $1,000 per coin in 2017. Today it’s worth $20,000 and has had surges up over $65,000. Additionally, other currencies such as Ethereum and Monero have generally tracked Bitcoin’s growth and relatively increased in value.
The problem comes from how most cryptocurrencies are created. On top of being tradeable (which is the average person’s interaction with crypto), many popular cryptocurrencies can be created by anyone in a process called mining. In short, mining is an immensely resource-intensive operation that requires tons of computer processing power to be profitable. Miners face costs from buying computers and hardware to the electricity required to power the entire operation.
But what if you didn’t need to pay for the computers or the electricity? That’s where cryptojacking comes in. The attackers simply use other people’s computers and their electricity to generate cryptocurrency that is sent back to the cybercriminal. Each individual laptop, phone, or tablet they control doesn’t individually contribute much mining power, but because they spread their malware to thousands or millions of computers, it adds up. It’s basically free money.
Should I be worried about cryptojacking?
The threat of cryptojacking to people and businesses is simple to understand. First of all, if you become affected by one of these attacks, your devices will suffer from poor performance. Second, you likely won’t realize what the problem is, as there are tons of issues that can slow down your computer.
For anyone, a laggy device is frustrating on its own. For a business, poor performance can hurt the bottom line, too. It goes without saying that slow devices hurt the efficiency of any workforce.
And unfortunately, businesses appear to be the primary target of cryptojacking attacks. A report from cybersecurity firm SonicWall found a 269% increase in these attacks on the financial sector compared to 2021, and a 30% in cryptojacking attacks overall. “It has a lower potential of being detected by the victim; unsuspecting users across the world see their devices get unaccountably slower, but it’s hard to tie it to criminal activity, much less point to the source,” said Terry Greer-King, SonicWall vice president for EMEA in an interview with TechMonitor.
How can I protect myself from cryptojacking?
We’ve written extensively on this blog about the cybersecurity strategies individuals and businesses can engage in to protect their data. However, no amount of best practices can ever leave you truly protected. The most important tool in your arsenal is having the expertise of professional IT watching your back.
Reach out to the pros at amshot today for a free consultation to find out how they can protect your business from costly intrusions.