Cryptocurrencies which are stored on different exchanges have always been a target of hackers, who try to get their way into the exchange and steal people's digital asset through various hacking techniques, double-spending being a prominent reason.
However, over the years people got fed up with these nuisances and they started using offline or hardware wallets to protect their digital assets. Now, hackers have found a new way to expand their portfolio known as crypto jacking.This article would answer various questions on what is crypto jacking and act as your beginner's guide to understand the problem in depth.
"Cryptojacking can be called as a malicious form of crypto mining, where the end user which has been affected by the malware does not realize it for long or ever. Kaspersky has already predicted crypto jacking as one of the worst forms of malware attack and it's not that easy to detect."
What is Cryptojacking?
If you are aware of how cryptocurrency function and works, you must be aware of the cryptocurrency mining process. It is a process by which people verify transactions on a network, and earn block rewards in return.
Mining was aimed at maintaining the decentralization aspect of the Blockchain technology and also earning some cryptocurrency for doing the same. As time progressed, mining difficulty increased and the hash power required to mine a block increased as well.
Now what hackers did was, they attracted people over the internet through click-bait and installed malware into their browser without the user's consent. Now this malware extract whatever hash power your computer is capable of generating and using it to mine cryptocurrency and the end user bearing all the energy consumption cost
The two main forms of malware used are,
In-script mining malware
These hackers are smart and they concentrated on more anonymous coins like Zcash and Monero which are fairly difficult to track."Since CPU mining and GPU mining have turned unprofitable in the wake of bearish market trends throughout 2018, these hackers have started to target Mining farms, which has an assembly of hundreds of mining rigs combined to make at least some profit".
How to Avoid Being a Victim of CryptoJacking?
"The worst part about the crypto jacking is, its fairly next to impossible to realize that you are the victim, and even if you figure out, it's already too late. Hopefully, over the years the developers are able to find a counter to such nuisances, however till then as a crypto enthusiast, you must follow the policy of "Prevention is better than cure"
Let us see what all prevention measures you can take to avoid being a victim of crypto jacking.
1. Install an AD-Blocker
Ad-Blockers are not just meant for you to avoid YouTube ads, but it can help you prevent many unnecessary cookies and click-bait ads from creating any dialogue boxes on your browser. There are a plethora of Ad-blockers on chrome store which you can download and become much safer against malware attacks.
2. Install a Good Anti-Malware software
There are multiple anti-malware software applications that are available in the market, but most of their database does not get updated in time to detect potential new malware. So, make use even if you are buying a good anti-malware software, it gets the timely update and has an updated database.
3. Update Your Firewall Regularly
The in-built firewall in your computer acts as a screen between your PC and the internet, so make sure the settings have been rightly configured, and keep the security level at maximum. The more secure your firewall is, the lesser chances a hacker has to install the crypto jacking malware.
Crypto Jacking has already been a cause of a headache for most of the people related to cryptocurrencies throughout 2018. As much as half of the crypto community was affected by the nuisance at one point or other. The problem was so severe that it surpassed another great nuisance called ransomware.
The anonymous cryptocurrencies like Monero which use multiple nodes deflection to hide the transactions and make it almost impossible to trace. Monero has already gained a sore eye from the law enforcement agencies. As the Distributed Ledger technology gets refined over years, hopefully, we will have a complete hacker-proof Blockchain ecosystem.