Cryptojacking, also known as hidden or covert mining, is a growing threat that can compromise your computer or mobile device’s performance, increase your energy bills, and even steal your sensitive information. In this guide, we will explain what cryptojacking is, how it works, and most importantly, how you can protect yourself from it.
What is Cryptojacking?
Cryptojacking is a type of cyber attack where an attacker hijacks a user’s computer or mobile device to mine cryptocurrencies without their knowledge or consent. Cryptojacking is achieved by injecting a malicious script into a website or a downloadable application, which runs in the background, consuming the device’s resources such as CPU, GPU, and memory to mine cryptocurrencies for the attacker’s benefit.
How Does Cryptojacking Work?
Cryptojacking can occur through different vectors. One of the most common methods is through phishing emails, where attackers trick users into clicking on a malicious link or downloading an infected attachment. Another way is by exploiting vulnerabilities in web applications or plugins, such as outdated browser extensions, which allow attackers to inject the mining script into the victim’s browser.
Once the script is executed, it connects to the attacker’s mining pool and starts mining cryptocurrencies. Since the mining script is hidden, users may not be aware of its presence. However, some signs that may indicate cryptojacking include a significant slowdown in the device’s performance, overheating, and an increase in energy consumption.
How to Protect Yourself Against Cryptojacking?
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from cryptojacking:
- Keep your software up to date: Ensure that your operating system, antivirus, and browser software are updated to their latest versions, as they often contain security patches that fix vulnerabilities exploited by cryptojacking scripts.
- Install anti-cryptojacking extensions: There are several browser extensions such as No Coin, MinerBlock, and Anti-WebMiner that can detect and block cryptojacking scripts.
- Use ad blockers: Cryptojacking scripts are often delivered through online advertisements. Therefore, installing an ad blocker can help prevent these scripts from running.
- Be cautious of emails and downloads: Avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading files from unknown sources, as they may contain cryptojacking scripts.
- Monitor your device’s performance: Regularly check your device’s performance, such as CPU usage, memory usage, and energy consumption, to detect any unusual activities that may indicate cryptojacking.
- Consider using a virtual private network (VPN): A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, preventing attackers from intercepting it and injecting cryptojacking scripts.
Cryptojacking is a growing threat that can compromise your device’s performance, increase your energy bills, and even steal your sensitive information. However, by following the steps outlined in this guide, you can protect yourself from cryptojacking and safeguard your device’s security and performance. Remember, prevention is always better than cure.