Cryptojacking: Identifying & Preventing Schemes

Cryptojacking, also known as cryptomining, has become an emergent online threat that attacks cryptocurrencies on computers and mobile devices. This hacking method uses a machine's resources to mine forms of online money known as cryptocurrency. It can take over web browsers, target small cryptocurrency farms, and compromise all kinds of electronic devices.

Like other cyberattacks, the main motive behind cryptojacking schemes is profit. But unlike many other threats, it's designed to try and stay completely hidden from users. But detection tools are quickly being developed to protect companies and computer networks from falling victim to cryptojacking schemes and the cryptojackers behind them. 

What is Cryptojacking?
Cryptojacking has seen a meteoric rise in activity in recent years. It presents an easy way for cybercriminals to make free money without putting in a lot of effort. Hackers can hijack someone else's machine with only a few code lines and sneak away unnoticed. This ends up leaving the targeted company or individual hung out to dry by losing cryptocurrency and having to pick up the pieces and restore its computer networks.

How Does Cryptojacking Work?
A popular way that cryptojacking schemes work is through malicious emails that can install cryptomining code on a computer system, such as ransomware, phishing, or malware. The victim on the receiving end gets a seemingly harmless email with a link or attachment, and when they click on it or download the attachment, it runs a code that downloads the cryptomining script on the computer. From there, the script works in the background without the victim knowing it’s taking place.

Web browser mining is another way in which cryptojacking schemes can be executed. In this method, hackers inject cryptomining script on a site or in an ad that is placed throughout multiple sites. When the victim ends up visiting the infected site, or if a malicious ad pops up in the browser, the script automatically takes over. In either of these methods, the code solves intricate math problems and sends the results to the hacker’s network server while the victim is still unaware.

Detecting and Preventing Cryptojacking
Like any other kind of malware infection or cyberattack, there are some important red flags to beware of. Here are some to keep in mind:

  • High processor usage on your device
  • Sluggish or unusually slow response times
  • Overheating of your device

In addition to using cybersecurity software and being more educated on the topic of cryptojacking schemes, companies can also install ad-blocking extensions that keep cryptomining at bay. These extensions can be added to web browsers for an extra layer of defense and peace of mind. As always, it’s important to keep an eye out for phishing and spam emails that come through as well as dubious links, unknown attachments, and strange subject lines.

Delivery methods and cryptomining codes are constantly evolving. Understanding the behavior can help companies detect cryptojacking efforts in real time. If you understand the delivery methods for cryptojacking, you’ll be aware of the exploitation kits that come with them.

About Axis Insurance
At Axis Insurance Services, we aim to help our customers identify their exposures and protect themselves. Founded in 1999, we offer insurance programs to a wide variety of professionals and industries including attorneys, real estate, healthcare, architects, and more, and also have a wholesale division. We pride ourselves on offering flexible insurance coverage tailored specifically to each customer’s needs. To learn more about our solutions, contact us at (877) 787-5258 to speak with one of our professionals.

Cyber Liability Insurance, network security, ransomware

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