Exploring Cryptojacking: Understanding the Threat and How to Protect Against it
In the realm of cybersecurity, the term "Ransomware" has haunted us many for years. However, a recent shift in the landscape has brought to light a recurrence of another threat – Cryptojacking.
Cryptojacking, involves a hacker exploiting a computer's processing power to engage in cryptocurrency mining. This article will delve into the intricacies of Cryptojacking, its implications, and the crucial steps to protect your computers and network.
Let’s first get an understanding of the mechanics of cryptocurrencies, to better understand what Cryptojacking is about.
Cryptocurrencies use what is known as blockchain technology, consisting of blocks that record transactional data of its users. These blocks are disseminated across a global network, forming a secure and decentralized ledger. Creating a new block demands substantial computer computational power and electricity. To offset this, entities like Bitcoin incentivize individuals through compensation for their contributions to block creation, a process aptly termed "Crypto mining."
This in itself is not a problem and is perfectly legal. The predicament lies in what hackers are doing with it: malicious actors hack into unsuspecting individuals' computers through malware and then redirect their processing power towards the building of a block by using the computational power of the hacked computer for cryptocurrency mining. This is essentially what is known as "Cryptojacking," and poses a severe threat to individuals and organizations alike.
The adverse effects of Cryptojacking, apart from the blatant invasion of privacy, is that it results in diminished computer performance, elevated energy consumption, and subsequently, inflated electricity bills. Do you notice your computer suddenly running much slower? Your electric bill suddenly increasing? These can be signs of Cryptojacking.
To safeguard against Cryptojacking, proactive measures such as Advanced Endpoiint Protection can detect and block most Cryptojacking attempts. Also, regular software updates, especially for operating systems and browsers, and Ad-blocking extensions in your internet browser can help support your security.
The rise of Cryptojacking underscores the ever-evolving nature of cyber threats and by understanding its mechanics you can help to reduce its proliferation.
As always we promote cybersecurity awareness, using protective software, and adhering to best practices online to help protect you and your organization. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me directly.
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Greg Durnan is the Owner/President of AcaciaIT and very active in the business community of Southern Arizona. One of the founding members of the Greater Vail Area Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce. He is very passionate about the needs of businesses in Arizona. He also strives to educate clients on Computer and Network Security through Lunch and Learns, articles, and webinars.
On the weekends he enjoys spending time with his wife and son at their ranch in Vail and working with horses.