Mining Cryptocurrency Risks and Malware: How to Avoid Them?

What is cryptojacking

Ad-blockers – Web browsers should have ad-blocking software installed and be regularly patched in order to block known cryptomining scripts. Cryptojacking kits are available on the dark web for as little as £20 and do not require significant technical skills to utilise. Using basic means, cybercriminals can launch attacks that go under the radar and create a continuous stream of revenue almost instantly. Just one example of this is the discovery by researchers that the Smominru botnet had infected over half a million machines and generated over £3.5 million in January 2018 alone.

What is cryptojacking

From the perspective of operated web services, there are several additional preventative measures – in addition to the same measures as for clients outlined above – that can be deployed. In general, many of the same steps as used in the prevention of Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) are useful preventive measures (Cross-Site Scripting – AppCheck). Cryptojacking malware is unlike many other forms of malware in that it is designed to remain unobserved, so there is most often no visible impact or immediately catastrophic outcome as in the case of ransomware. Rather, infected hosts will generally simply begin to perform poorly and struggle to perform certain tasks, since some sizable portion of their CPU activity is being diverted towards the crypto mining effort. Multiple cryptominers therefore compete to solve the hashes that are required to validate a particular transaction.

How Do You Protect Against Cryptojacking?

The threat group launches its attacks by compromising Docker Engine API endpoints that are incorrectly configured with an open 2375 port, which delivers access to the daemon located under the default settings. Working from home has become a critical part of containing the virus, but for small to mid-size businesses tackling remote work for the first time, there are security considerations to keep in mind. MassMiner is an interesting example because it uses many exploits for various vulnerabilities in one payload. Exploiting unpatched flaws in Oracle WebLogic, Windows SMB, and Apache Struts has earned close to $200,000 worth of Monero cryptocurrency for MassMiner’s creators. If you would like more help advice and support establishing your cyber security protocols, or updating your current set-up, contact us today to see how we can help.

How illegal is cryptojacking?

So, can cryptojacking really be considered illegal? It can. Cryptojacking involves using part of someone's processing power without their knowledge or consent for monetary gain. Under federal laws, this act constitutes fraud, and individuals alleged to engage in cryptojacking may face prosecution.

Instead, look for signs your systems are working harder than they should. Mining cryptocurrency is designed to be a CPU-intensive task, after all, and so a good indication of infection is a machine overheating. If you are in a business environment, this may manifest as a sudden spike in employee complaints about poor performance, or a noticeable increase in CPU wastage through overheating.

Kaspersky Blocks Over 200M Illegal Crypto Mining: Reports

Monero also obfuscates its transactions and anonymises wallet addresses, making it even harder to track than other cryptocurrencies. Browser-based or in-browser cryptojacking tools inject scripts into popular websites or advertisements delivered to multiple domains. A well-known threat of this type was Coinhive, the Monero mining service, which was shut down in 2019. The most effective way to avoid cryptojacking is to avoid installing malware on your device. Should you download suspicious executables, good antivirus software should stop the malware from running, but this method is not reliable for all cryptojacking.

  • Cryptojacking attacks have become a serious threat to organizations of all sizes, as attackers seek to exploit the power of cloud computing environments to mine for cryptocurrency.
  • Cryptojacking is one of the most common online threats due to its ease of execution and has been on the rise since 2017.
  • Browser Plug-ins such as AdBlock, uBlock, AdGuard, etc. are good choices.
  • It often involves hijacking a device (such as a computer, phone, tablet, server, etc) — then using its resources to mine cryptocurrency.
  • Since cryptojacking can damage hardware and lead to data loss, you should regularly back up your data using external media.
  • If you find you need some assistance, Securus Communications are on hand to help.

The malware begins with an obfuscated PowerShell script that contains the core code and additional modules for mining (see reports by The Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA), Kaspersky and ZDNet). Things took a turn for the worse when threat actors began deploying Coinhive to websites without permission. Meaning that neither visitors, nor website owners, realised they were mining Monero for cybercriminals. This lead to antivirus vendors and ad-blockers tdentifying and removing Coinbase code from infected websites. The AppCheck web application vulnerability scanner has a full native understanding of web application logic, including Single Page Applications (SPAs), and renders and evaluates them in the exact same way as a user web browser does. This includes all client-side JavaScript, allowing it to be evaluated and analysed.

How to protect yourself from cryptojacking attacks

Reduce risk, control costs and improve data visibility to ensure compliance.

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