Cryptojacking might be the new privacy threat in 2018

Cryptojacking might be the new privacy threat in 2018

Over the last few months, the cryptocurrency (Bitcoin) values seems to be increasing and has been in the headlines as more people began investing in cryptocurrencies. The major concern that looms over cryptocurrency is in the Mining process.

(Mining process involves solving complex transactions. The finished complex transactions are recorded as blocks, each time when the miner solves or finishes a block he gets a reward in the form of bitcoin.)

Mining process requires a lot of hardware which is hugely expensive and not only that, mining requires a lot of electricity.

(In the earliest days of Bitcoin, mining was done with CPUs from normal desktop computers. Graphics cards, or graphics processing units (GPUs), are more effective at mining than CPUs and as Bitcoin gained popularity, GPUs became dominant.)

According to the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index (BECI) maintained by Digiconomist, Bitcoin consumes more energy than 159 individual countries and likely to consume all the world’s electricity by 2020.

This is one of the major problems of cryptocurrency. Over the last few months, a new method is being used to mine cryptocurrency. This method is found to affect everyone who has the internet connection.

Without your knowledge, your devices are used for mining cryptocurrency. This may slow down the performance of your devices.

If you experience slow performance on your devices for the last two months, your devices may be used for mining cryptocurrency.

This process is called Cryptojacking. The word cryptojacking is a combination of “cryptocurrency” and “hijacking”. It is found to be more dangerous than ransomware attack and poses a great threat to privacy.

 How do Hackers or Miners infect our devices?

Usually, we use browsers like chrome, firefox etc., in these browsers we use extensions or plugins for our needs. Hackers or Miners embed these plugins with Javascript codes. Some plugins developers allow these embedded javascript codes for money, paid to them by the miners.

(A popular Chrome extension for blogging with over 100,000 users and 3,400 reviews, called Archive Poster, which seems to have recently added a crypto-mining script that constantly uses the victims’ CPU resources.)

These embedded javascript codes use device’s processing power to mine various cryptocurrencies and you might not know what’s happening.

(The Coinhive JavaScript miner seems to have started the cryptojacking because it is quite easy for website operators to monetize websites and browser extensions. The original authors does not have any malicious intent, but this is how their code is being used. The Coinhive JavaScript miner primarily mines Monero cryptocurrencies.

The Coinhive authors eventually developed new version called AuthedMine, which requires permission from the websites’ visitors before it’s enabled. However, this new version of Coinhive doesn’t seem to be popular with website operators nearly as much as the original did.)

You might think of  disabling/uninstalling all your extensions or plugins to stop this mining malware.

But not only extensions, your favourite media, games sites are even involved in cryptojacking. You can’t do anything about it.

If you’re going to use mobile for surfing the web,  you’ll also fall prey for the miners. Everyone have installed Facebook Messenger in their phones, a new cryptocurrency mining bot/malware, called Digmine (it is designed to look like a video file), is spreading through Facebook Messenger.

How to be safe from cryptojacking?

First, reset your browsers and disable unwanted plugins/extensions. Then use extensions such as MinerBlock (Chrome) or No Coin (Firefox and Chrome) to automatically block the most common JavaScript cryptocurrency miners.

If you don’t know what to do. Simply install Opera browser it has in-built cryptocurrency mining blocker. The Cryptocurrency mining protection in Opera browser is available for Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux and also for your mobile devices.

Have a safe browsing.

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