Cryptojacking, a top cyberattack threat in 2020 and its prevention

Cryptojacking is an emerging form of malware that uses computation to mine high value cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

In 2020 one of the most common cyber attacks would be cryptojacking – “unauthorized use of someone else’s computer to mine cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin” Cryptojacking, according to Malwarebytes, is an emerging form of malware that hides on your device and steals its computing resources in order to mine for valuable online decentralized currencies.

Let’s go through 2019’s stats first. McAfee’s Threats report that the cryptojacking trend has increased by 29% between Q4 2018 and Q1 2019. It is such a huge number for a quarter, and this trend would rise in 2020 as well. 

There are two main reasons for the increasing trend of cryptojacking. Low investment and minimal risk make it favorable for hackers. As per the Digital Shadows report, the cryptojacking kit costs as little as $30. Additionally, it does not require an advanced level of technical skills. 

It involves less risk as cryptojacking could be done either by infecting links in the email that loads crypto mining code on the computer or by poisoning websites through javascript code that is meant to auto-execute once loaded. So, it becomes incredibly challenging to reach the root of cryptojacking. The worst side of this crypto attack is, victims cannot identify it quickly because it does not show any signs except slowing down a system or bringing lags in execution. 

In one line, if we sum up cryptojacking benefits for hackers, it would be “more money for fewer risks.”

In the past, Amazon cloud was being hacked by cyber crooks to mine bitcoins. Hackers could hack the cloud servers and use their computation power for cryptojacking as well. Data shows hackers did not show interest in sensitive information but commanded Amazon Cloud Servers to mine bitcoins by executing BTC Mining commands.

Cryptojacking Prevention requires a user to be smart

No doubt, Ransomware – “a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid” is also in trend, but it requires advanced technical skills. Moreover, hackers could be paid only by 3% of victims in the case of Ransomware. Contrarily, they could control all infected computers through cryptojacking. 

How to prevent Cryptojacking

Like all the latest threats, Cryptojacking also requires a user to be smart instead of relying on an antivirus or cybersecurity software. Unfortunately, cryptojacking is easy to inject and hard to detect or prevent. However, some precautionary measures could be taken to avoid cryptojacking in the first place.

People should educate themselves to stay safe from Phishing attacks and not click on any suspicious links received by an unknown email address. Other than this, ad blockers could be installed on systems to avoid getting infected ads while surfing the web. Users should avoid visiting fraudulent websites including some showing free Bitcoin or other valuable currencies. Be aware, hackers want to use your computation power to mine more Bitcoin and they look for new and advanced tricks to own your computer’s processor to utilize it for their illegal goals.

As far as cloud servers are concerned, admins must create strong passwords. Moreover, these passwords should not be given to the entire team. The optimal approach is to add 2FA authentication and create separate limited access roles of team members. In this way, passwords would not be leaked, and team members would not be able to do any harm to the admins.

READ: MalwareBytes: All about cryptojacking
READ: WhatsApp bug allows hackers to crash the app with one message

Featured image: JustSuper/Getty

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