The anonymity that cryptocurrencies offer for malicious actors when completing transactions makes it an appealing resource for them to amass. The usual methods for mining cryptocurrencies involve setting up dedicated hardware to perform the mining process and accumulating the currency overtime. Naturally, malicious actors prefer to infect as many machines as possible with malware that allows them to disperse the mining process across many people’s computers and maximize their mining output at no cost to them. Today we want to talk everything you need to know about this attack strategy – called cryptojacking – and how you can help prevent it from happening to your private and business devices!
What is cryptojacking?
Cryptojacking is when a hacker infects a device with malware that puts part of its processing power towards mining cryptocurrencies. Unlike other attack forms, such as ransomware, malicious actors will go out of their way to ensure users do not know their device has been compromised. Often, the only sign that a device is being used for mining is slower performance that could be attributed to many factors or go entirely unnoticed by less tech-savvy users. Hackers will interrupt the user as little as possible because they want the malware to quietly mine cryptocurrency for as long as possible to maximize profits for the hackers. Cryptojacking attacks can mine for Bitcoin or any other currency of the attacker’s choosing.
While the end result may differ from other attacks, cryptojacking will often begin just like other common malware attacks. A malicious actor will commonly use phishing emails to try to entice users into clicking a malicious link that will send them to a website that performs a drive by download of the malware needed to perform the attack. Hackers will also attack websites and try to inject malicious code that will attack a user’s machine once they visit the website, and they will target websites that have weak security but are generally accepted as safe. Users should be aware that any cyberattack used to deliver malware can be used to initiate a cryptojacking attack.
Fortunately, since cryptojacking attacks are deployed just like other malware attacks, they can be prevented with some of the same threat mitigation strategies. Employees should be given adequate phishing training to ensure they know the best ways to identify and report phishing emails. Additionally, every device on the business should be equipped with endpoint protection, a next-generation firewall, and other cybersecurity tools that can monitor the device’s health and automatically report suspicious activity on the network. If you are worried your business may need help rooting out already infected devices, you should reach out to a trusted IT consultant to help identify and handle threats already present on your network.
Malicious actors are always on the lookout for ways to leverage the same attack methods for new rewards. That’s why small businesses need every edge they can get to stay secure and keep their business running smoothly. Our team here at Robinett Consulting knows just how important it is for small businesses to have access to the knowledge and tools that can keep them safe, so we want to partner with your small business to ensure your protected against cryptojacking and other attacks like it!
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