Crypto-Jacking: The Next Major Cyber Threat

Experts Believe Crypto-Jacking is Next Big Cyber Threat

Experts have shifted their emphasis from ransomware to crypto-jacking when considering today’s emerging cyber threats.  Ransomware is a malicious software that encrypts files, then demands a payment to unlock them.  Alternatively, crypto-jacking is the unauthorized use of one’s computer or network to mine for digital currency, or crypto-mine.  Mining for crypto-currencies takes an extreme amount of resources, including power and bandwidth.  It is for these reasons, hackers are using other’s resources and devices.

Buy why the shift?  First, ransomware is no longer an emerging threat, but an existing threat.  Also, ransomware has been incredibly lucrative, but can be costly for hackers to use.  Alternatively, CSO Online reported a crypto-mining service called Coinhive recently earned over $300k in one month.  That, along with a crypto-jacking kits costing as little as $30, it makes sense hackers are making the switch.  Also, ransomware infections require the user to actually make the payment.  Unlike crypto-jacking which does not require the user to make any kind of payment.

Threat Models

The threat model for ransomware and crypto-jacking is similar.  Both impact the functionality of the victim’s systems, and both could render them useless.  However, crypto-jacking may not be a noticeable threat, like ransomware is.  If you’re infected with ransomware, users receive a ransom note demanding a payment.  Crypto-jacking doesn’t notify the user.  Instead, it monopolizes resources in the background.  Since crypto-mining takes up a majority of the resources, users may notice a significant decrease in bandwidth or device speed.

If you are concerned your system is infected with a crypto-jacking malware, it is important the user run a virus scan to identify any kind of malicious activity.

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4 thoughts on “Crypto-Jacking: The Next Major Cyber Threat

  1. One method that I have used to get out of ransom ware is to reboot to your BIOS. Once in your BIOS use the system restore to a date that preceded the ransom ware infection.

    • You may run a scan — however, the issue with crypto-jacking is, they are not executing malware. Instead, they will run a legitimate crypto-mining software. However, it will slow down your system and use up most, if not all, of your resources. One easy way to determine if someone has crypto-jacked your system is to go into your Task Manager and see if one specific program or application is utilizing all of our resources. If so, it is likely you’ve been crypto-jacked. In which case, you will want to end that program/application. Then run a security scan, and make sure all of your programs, applications, and operating systems are updated. Patching security vulnerabilities will be your best bet against crypto-jackers getting into your system.

      • @Kayla Elliott:
        “… One easy way to determine if someone has crypto-jacked your system is to …”
        while the the main article described what crypto-jacking is and what it does, it did NOT describe how to see if one is running on one’s computer nor how to get rid of it.

        i think that your reply to Patti should have been in the main artilce and not in a reply to a comment.

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