Crypto-jacking: An insidious threat

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Crypto-jacking hard to believe, but yes, it has happened multiple times, over the past few years. 

On 7th May 2019, Binance — one of the largest cryptocurrency exchange across the world, announced that they lost 7,000 bitcoins worth $40 million through a single transaction. In 2014, the loss of $460 million worth of cryptocurrency led Mt. Gox to lose its identity and collapsed in the market. And the 2018 attack — loss of $500 million digital tokens from exchange Coincheck is not hidden from anyone. 

Each incident which occurred within the last few years has proved that the crypto coins which are supposed to be hyper-secure, is now, not anymore. With just a few lines of coding, hackers easily get access to users ‘computers, mobiles, laptops, and tablets and mine for cryptocurrencies.  

So, does this mean that crypto-jacking will block the future of cryptocurrency? Will top business leaders stop using bitcoins and other cryptos as a virtual model of currency for transactions in the market? The clear answer is ‘No’. 

In the world of investment, cryptocurrency holds huge importance. People who invested hugely in crypto coins, they are benefited in incredible ways. It provides significant advantages in both ways, financially and economically. 

Hence, cryptocurrency is not going anywhere. It is here to stay in the market and that’s too for a longer period. But for that, we have to focus on a few aspects which can help us to make cryptocurrency a safe and secure medium of transaction. 

Here are few steps which we must follow to avoid crypto-jacking:

  • Understand the source of crypto-jacking

There can be several ways of carrying out crypto-jacking. But, the extremely widespread one is malicious emails or phishing. Malicious emails are the easiest way of installing crypto-mining code in the computer system with the help of phishing tactics. This sends users innocuous links or an attachment which triggers the code that downloads the crypto mining script in the computer. These scripts run in the background and send results directly to cyber criminal’s server and allow hacking of cryptocurrencies. 

  • Web browser mining

It is also one of the most commonly used methods of performing the task of crypto-jacking. In this process, hackers plug in the crypto mining scripts on a website or through an advertisement. So, whenever users visit the website or click on the advertisement, the script automatically gets executed which allows hackers to take control of users’ system. This process doesn’t require storing any code in the users’ computer. 

Few methods of prevention

Now, after understanding the various sources of crypto-jacking, here comes the most crucial part — how to get rid of it? 

  • From the above lines, it’s quite clear that crypto-jacking occurs through websites which runs malicious scripts. So, if users can install browser extensions which can block such crypto mining scripts then they can prevent themselves from severe crypto-jacking. Some of the well-known extensions are:  Google Chrome comes with NoCoin or minerBlock extension and for Firefox NoScript is the extension. 
  • AdBlock is also another option. This is advertising blocking software which helps users to block the websites which allow the running of crypto-jacking scripts. 
  • Users are always advised to keep antivirus and anti-malware solutions updated regularly. These are the common solutions to block crypto mining software. 

Closing Remarks

In the realm of cybercrime, crypto-jacking has become a new method for earning money for cybercriminals. They are always in search of new ways and opportunities to make profits in a very short time. Hence, few measure steps can help us to defeat hackers and save ourselves from the attack of crypto-jacking.

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