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Cryptojacking: the cyber-attack carried out by crypto miners

  • Published
    28th Jul, 2022
Context

According to a new report, Cryptojacking’ attacks on computer systems have gone up by 30% to 66.7 million in the first half of 2022 compared to the first half of last year.

About

Cryptojacking

  • Cryptojacking is a cyber-attack wherein a computing device is hijacked and controlled by the attacker, and its resources are used to illicitly mine cryptocurrency.
  • Hackers seek to hijack any kind of systems they can take over—desktops, servers, cloud infrastructure and more—to illicitly mine for crypto coins.
  • In most cases, the malicious programme is installed when the user clicks on an unsafe link, or visits an infected website — and unknowingly provides access to their Internet-connected device.

How Cryptojacking works?

  • Coin mining is a legitimate process in the cryptocurrency world that releases new cryptocurrency into circulation. 
  • It involves solving complex computational problems to generate blocks of verified transactions that get added to the blockchain.
  • The reward for the first miner who successfully manages to update the crypto ledger through this route is crypto coins.
  • But the race to crack this 64-digit hexadecimal number code needs considerable computing power involving state-of-the-art hardware, and electrical power to keep the systems involved up and running.
  • Cryptojackers co-opt devices, servers, and cloud infrastructure, and use their resources for mining. The use of ‘stolen’ or cryptojacked resources slashes the cost involved in mining.

Concerns:

  • Cryptojacking is hard to detect and the victims of these attacks mostly remain unaware that their systems have been compromised.
  • Some telltale signs are the device slowing down, heating up, or the battery getting drained faster than usual.
  • Apart from individuals, businesses too are on the target list of cryptojackers.
  • The primary impact of cryptojacking is performance-related, though it can also increase costs for the individuals and businesses affected because coin mining uses high levels of electricity and computing power.

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