Tuesday, April 23, 2024

What Is Cryptojacking?

what is cryptojacking

What is cryptojacking and why should you be concerned with it? It’s something I think about every time my cell phone begins operating slower than usual, or my laptop behaves in unexpected ways; some of the causes for both are routine, and some of the potential causes are definitely NOT. What’s the difference?

Computer experts routinely warn consumers to pay attention to the performance of their devices as unusual behavior, slow response times, and other issues may be caused by a computer virus or other hacking attempts.

And then there are the cases of cryptojacking. I warn people that when experiencing unexplained device issues (a battery too quick to die, slow performance online that cannot be associated with a low-bandwidth internet connection or other issues, etc you will have to do a review of your device that includes scanning for the usual virus issues as well as crypto jacking. You should also assume in such cases (where you feel a hack has occurred, crypto-related or not) that all your passwords have been compromised and need to be reset.

What Is Cryptojacking?

The Federal Trade Commission official site describes cryptojacking as a situation where a hacker or scammer has found a way to access your computer, tablet, or phone to mine cryptocurrency.

This can happen in many ways, and it is definitely possible to be victimized by malicious code just be visiting the wrong websites. Symptoms of this include slower processing power, a serious drain on your battery due to the activity of the malicious code, frequent crashes or other odd behavior, etc.

The FTC warns consumers that if you experience such symptoms, try troubleshooting your device by using antivirus software (make sure you have downloaded the very latest updates), closing applications that seem to drain your battery faster, and consider installing popup blockers and ad blockers.

To avoid being the target of cryptojacking, it’s crucial never to visit dodgy websites, and you should never download an app from a third party you don’t trust.

Ways You Can Accidentally Be Hacked Or Cryptojacked

You may find that the methods hackers and scammers use to get into your smartphone, iPad, or laptop computer vary as much as the scams themselves; for cryptojacking purposes, the hacker needs the code installed on your device to be as undetectable as possible. You might not even know you’ve been hacked until you notice device performance is suffering thanks to the activity of the malicious code.

Hackers can use malware that is hidden in a link sent to you from a third party, unsolicited. Those who click on the link (thinking it’s for something legitimate like a password reset on an email account, account verification emails, etc.) have their devices infected. Another method is to embed Javascript code on a website; the code affects all visitors to the site who have not disabled Javascript. Once a user has visited the page and is affected by the malicious Javascript, cryptocurrency mining operations begin on the infected machine.

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