Wednesday 8th November 2023
BLOG: Cryptojacking Unveiled – Detecting and Combating the Stealthy Threat of Mining Malware
Cryptojacking has quietly gained ground as a stealthy form of cyber attack. This blog unveils the hidden menace and discusses how you can detect and combat this mining malware to protect your valuable digital assets.
The Rise of Cryptojacking
Cryptojacking, also known as malicious cryptocurrency mining, is the unauthorized use of a computer’s processing power to mine cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Monero. Unlike traditional cyber attacks that focus on stealing data or causing system damage, cryptojacking operates in the shadows, with the primary goal of silently siphoning computing resources for financial gain.
Hackers gain unauthorized access to computers, smartphones, and electronic devices to mine cryptocurrencies without the victim’s knowledge. This stealthy attack has become prevalent due to the computational power and electricity required for traditional cryptocurrency mining. Even Android devices are not immune to these attacks, as hackers pool the processing power of multiple phones for mining.
According to a cybersecurity researcher’s report last year, cryptojacking attacks have surged, especially in the financial sector, increasing by 269% year to date. The finance industry experienced significantly more cryptojacking incidents compared to other sectors. The report revealed that cryptojacking cases rose by 30% to 66.7 million in the first half of 2022.
Surprisingly, despite the drop in Bitcoin prices, cryptojacking cases continue to rise. Cybercriminals have been turning to cryptojacking as a preferred method for illegal mining, given the increased crackdown on ransomware attacks.
Unlike ransomware attacks that demand a ransom and involve communication with the victim, cryptojacking is discreet, with victims often unaware of the attack.
The current trend shows that cryptojacking incidents tend to be higher in the first quarter of the year and decline in the second quarter. Despite falling cryptocurrency prices, this pattern follows a well-established trend. While cryptojacking attacks increased overall, specific sectors like government, healthcare, and education saw a decrease in attack volumes in the first half of 2022. In contrast, the finance sector experienced a 269% rise in cryptojacking incidents, with the retail sector also seeing a 63% increase.
How Cryptojacking Works
Cryptojacking usually starts when a user unknowingly visits a compromised website or clicks on a malicious link in an email. Once the user’s device connects to the attacker’s server, it becomes part of a larger network of compromised devices, forming a mining pool. The attacker’s mining software then utilizes the combined processing power of all these devices to mine cryptocurrency, profiting at the expense of the victims.
The Stealthy Threat
The true danger of cryptojacking lies in its stealthiness. Unlike other cyber threats, it doesn’t immediately cripple your system or steal your data, making it harder to detect. Users might experience slowed performance, increased energy consumption, and overheating, but these symptoms are often mistaken for routine technical issues.
To protect your systems from crypto-jacking, early detection is crucial. Here are some signs that may indicate your device has fallen victim to this covert threat:
- Increased CPU Usage: Keep an eye on your device’s CPU usage. Sudden spikes when idle could be a sign of cryptojacking.
- Unusual Heat and Noise: If your device gets unusually hot or the fan starts running at full speed without any apparent reason, it’s worth investigating.
- Sluggish Performance: If your device is noticeably slower than usual, especially while browsing, consider the possibility of cryptojacking.
- Use Anti-Malware Software: Invest in a reputable anti-malware solution that can detect and block cryptojacking scripts.
- Regular Software Updates: Ensure your operating system, browsers, and security software are up to date to patch vulnerabilities that attackers might exploit.
- Browser Extensions: Consider using browser extensions that block cryptocurrency mining scripts, such as “NoCoin” or “MinerBlock.”
- Ad-Blockers: Ad-blockers can also help prevent cryptojacking by blocking malicious ads that often distribute mining scripts.
- Educate Your Team: Make sure your employees are aware of the threat of cryptojacking and know how to recognize potential signs.
Cryptojacking may be subtle, but its consequences can be severe. To protect your organization from this stealthy threat, consider leveraging a reliable Cyber Threat Intelligence (CTI) company specializing in cyber risk ratings. They can provide you with the tools and insights needed to detect and combat cryptojacking effectively.
At Orpheus Cyber, we offer cutting-edge solutions to help safeguard your digital assets. Don’t wait until cryptojacking silently drains your resources and profits. Contact us today to learn how we can help you stay one step ahead of cyber threats.
Secure your business and digital assets from the stealthy threat of cryptojacking. Request a demo today for expert guidance and cyber risk ratings to fortify your defence against mining malware.
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