Cryptojacking is a widespread form of illegal cryptocurrency mining. In this type of attack, it is the victim who mine the cryptocurrencies for the attacker, without the latter having requested permission.

UOne of the tools that hackers use to violate security and make profits is called cryptojacking. This is an attack that involves infecting other people's computers with malware to use their computing power. All this in order to carry out cryptocurrency mining that generates profits to the hacker or malicious actor.

El cryptojacking began to boom with the increase in value suffered by the cryptocurrencies. A situation that attracted hackers to create new ways to make profits easily. In addition, the new technique radically changed the actions of hackers. It was no longer necessary to destroy or damage the target of the attack. It was more advantageous to maintain low-profile, background operation with little impact. All this in order to keep the victim active and that will provide profits every minute with mining.

How does cryptojacking work?

The operation of cryptojacking it's quite simple actually. Hackers create malware that takes advantage of known or unknown vulnerabilities in operating systems such as Windows, Mac OS o GNU / Linux. The creation of this malware involves choosing which cryptocurrency to use and the target operating system. They normally use mining cryptocurrencies for CPUAs Monero. Once these elements are chosen, they design the malware and begin to spread it.

Dissemination depends a lot on the impact the hacker wants and his knowledge. If you want continuous mining, the best way is to spread a binary that infects the equipment. In this way you can create a whole network of nodes that you can control. It is the most complex form, since it requires technical knowledge of programming and vulnerabilities of the target OS.

If, on the other hand, you want more selective but more extensive mining, you can do a online miner. This last option generally passes through insert a JavaScript code in one or more websites. Through this code, each person who visits the web will become a hacker's cryptocurrency while executing said code. It is a much simpler way to carry out this attack. Well, all you need is a website, the miner's JavaScript code and visitors to the page. To be successful, visitors only need to open the page to be victims of the attack.

cryptojacking-bitcoin

Zombie networks to mine cryptocurrencies, the objective of cryptojacking

As we have mentioned, the emergence of cryptojacking altered the rules of the game. Generally, malware seeks to harm or alter the behavior of the computers they have infected. For example, there is malware dedicated to displaying annoying advertising at all times. And, the basic behavior of malware has always been "attack" to the computer and the user of said equipment.

However, cryptojacking has a different approach. It no longer matters so much to collect data or display annoying advertising. The really important thing is to go unnoticed while cryptocurrency mining is done in the background. In this way, the computer user does not realize that he has been infected and the hacker makes profit for every minute of mining activity. Although certainly CPU mining is not very lucrative today.

But that is something that hackers know how to compensate very wisely. First, they choose to mine cryptocurrencies with friendly algorithms for CPU mining. A good example of this is the Monero cryptocurrency. This cryptocurrency is mineable by CPU and also has great privacy and anonymity capabilities. Second, they advocate creating large zombie networks that increase mining power exponentially. Look at it this way, a single computer could take days to mine a single valid block of a cryptocurrency. But everything changes if the hacker is able to infect and control millions, that work is greatly reduced and profits increase.

What is the impact of cryptojacking activities?

Cryptojacking has a great impact on the activities we carry out if it turns out that we are the victim of this attack. Among these consequences we can mention:

High consumption of computational resources

Mining is a computationally expensive task. Even if this activity can be done by CPU, mining can drain a lot of computing power. In current computers, this fact can go unnoticed by the user. Today's CPUs are powerful enough to run intensive tasks simultaneously. However, the story changes when we talk about older equipment. In them the footprint of cryptojacking becomes more evident.

In addition to this increase in the use of computing power, there is an increase in energy expenditure. The more power computer equipment uses, the more expensive is the electric bill. To increase computing power, energy is needed, more energy produces more heat, and more dissipation power is needed to handle this situation. All this increases the energy consumption of the entire system. In addition to this, the increase in temperatures shortens the life of the equipment. An indirect expense that will affect the economy of the users or companies victims of the attack.

Decreased productivity

Like users' servers, PCs and mobiles, they can be victims of cryptojacking while accessing infected or malicious websites. These pages contain javascript code that silently transforms the user's browser into a cryptocurrency. The result: machines slow down and heat up. What decreases the productivity of those who use this equipment.

How much do you know, cryptonuta?

Is the cryptojacking boom due to the increase in value and more widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies?

TRUE!

Hackers were not interested in creating mining malware until the cryptocurrency boom caught their interest. The fact of being able to obtain profits and access them directly, privately and even anonymously aroused their interest and led to the increase in their activities as cryptojackers.

How can I protect myself?

Anyone can be a victim of cryptojacking. The truth is that no one is exempt from the threat. But there are certain things we can do to protect ourselves. First of all, use security solutions such as antivirus. That is our first line of defense. Secondly, use updated web browsers with security measures against cryptojacking. For example, the browser Firefox has proactive security measures in this regard. In the case of Chrome, we can use an extension that helps us protect ourselves. Like the case of uBlock Origin o NoScript. Another good policy to protect ourselves from these attacks is to avoid visiting or downloading content of dubious origin.

With these simple guidelines we can protect ourselves from most cryptojacking threats, and most importantly, keep our systems secure.