Cryptojacking is the unauthorized use of a person’s device for cryptocurrency mining. Certain cryptocurrencies can be mined by using computational resources to secure the blockchain and earn coins that can be traded for traditional currencies. However, instead of engaging in fair competition, some hackers choose to mine cryptocurrency by hijacking the computational resources of others. This practice is known as cryptojacking.
The victims of cryptojacking experience several negative effects. It leads to increased power consumption, slows down computers, and shortens the lifespan of equipment. Signs that a computer has been targeted include decreased performance, overheating, and intense use of the cooling fan. Fortunately, most modern antivirus software providers offer protection against cryptojacking.
File-based and browser-based cryptojacking are the two common types of cryptojacking. In file-based cryptojacking, hackers send seemingly legitimate emails with attachments that execute a program and introduce the crypto mining script to the victim’s computer. On the other hand, in browser-based cryptojacking, hackers embed malicious code in websites, and when the victim accesses these sites, the crypto mining script takes effect.
Cryptojacking schemes can go unnoticed for a long time, allowing hackers to mine without detection. These activities result in high electricity costs, which are passed on to the victims. Cryptojacking scripts can also cause devices to lag or break down due to wear and tear. Some scripts even have the ability to replicate quickly and infect multiple devices and servers within a network.
To avoid falling victim to cryptojacking, it is recommended to use ad-blockers and anti-crypto mining extensions. Additionally, cybercriminals often prefer to mine privacy coins like Monero, as they are difficult to trace.