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.
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.