Windows Users Most at Risk
While all internet users are at risk of being cryptojacked, Windows users that haven’t updated their OS to the latest version are at the greatest risk. There is a known bug and it leaves the computer vulnerable to a network file sharing protocol called SMB1. This bug makes it easy for hackers to inject cryptojacking scripts into your computer and mine cryptos with your CPU power. Microsoft released a patch a few months back, but many users have been slow in upgrading to the latest version, putting themselves at risk.
Cryptojacking on the Rise
As the price of cryptocurrencies continue to rise, cryptojacking is becoming more prevalent. Most cryptojacking scripts are designed to mine Monero ,due to its secretive nature and low mining difficulty rate. A study conducted by the Cyber Threat Alliance noted that in the period between June 2017 and June 2018, cryptojacking attacks had risen by more than 400% when compared to the same period a year previous.
Routers Under Attack
Earlier in the year, a batch of routers was compromised and cryptojacking scripts were installed on nearly 200,000 of them, turning home networks into crypto mining farms. The bug was already known to developers and the firmware had been patched. Yet, a large percentage of hardware users didn’t upgrade the firmware – an all too common problem. When the router is hacked and cryptojacking scripts are injected, a PC malware scanner won’t pick up the scrips as the scripts aren’t actually on the PC. The router will send the requests to the computer, which will appear as regular internet traffic.
The Dangers of Cryptojacking
Cryptojacking is very dangerous if it goes undetected. Most of these illegal cryptojacking scripts are set to steal high amounts of your CPU power, meaning that your CPU is working overtime. The fans work harder to dissipate more heat and your processor will be calculating more questions per second that it usually would. This makes parts fail much faster than under normal conditions and it can end up being very costly to fix. Not only this, but your computer can start to consume higher amounts of power, causing your electricity bill to spike.
The best way to protect yourself from cryptojacking is rather simple – keep everything up to date. Ensure you update your operations system as soon as an update is released and check your hardware for firmware upgrades weekly. Thankfully, we put together a helpful guide on how to protect yourself from cryptojackers – our way of protecting our readers.
Cryptojacking is a serious problem and it’s giving the crypto world a bad reputation. As long as you maintain your equipment properly and use common sense when on the internet, you shouldn’t have any issues.