Crypto Alphabet

How to stay safe from cryptojacking?

A new security threat, namely cryptojacking, is born following the explosion of cryptocurrency, Cryptojacking is defined as the unauthorized use of the resource of your computing device to perform cryptocurrency mining.

Cryptojacking basically implies that someone has hijacked your personal device to make use of its CPU power to mine cryptocurrencies. The hijacker execute the crypto mining code on your computer without your knowledge to capitalize on the computing power of your device – known as Hash Power. The only sign you might notice is an overall decline in system performance or lags in execution.

Previously, to be susceptible to such an attack, one has to install some sort of malicious software. However, things have evolved. Now, just a small embedded JavaScript (for example, Coinhive) is sufficient to makes use of the processing power of just about any device that visits such sites. ( In browser cryptojacking ).  JavaScript runs on practically every website that you visit, You load the page, and the javascript mining code just executes itself. No need for installation, and no need to opt-in and whatsoever. Hackers hack high traffic websites to insert their mining scripts while some online businesses make use of mining scripts as a way of generating alternative income for their business.

How to stay safe from cryptojacking

People who have their devices hacked will observe their devices heating up quicker or battery draining faster or power utilization of the CPU will suddenly increase.

You can check if you have been hacked and your system power is currently being used to mine digital currencies. Simply open your task manager and look at your CPU usage for your browser. If your cpu usage peaks at 100%, you are most probably cryptojacked.

You can also avoid future in-browser cryptojacking with the aid of some techniques, tools and plugins. Some of them are:

Nocoin is a free chrome extension that helps you to block websites from hijacking your CPU power. This open-source extension will detect the presence of such activity and provide you with the option of blocking the activity or whitelisting the website.

Similar Extension as described above.

Another Option

You can also use ScriptSafe to prevent the mining script from running. However, such extension could be quite aggressive at times and could prevent the normal functionality of the websites as it disables all scripts from running on pages.

  • Opera Browser

Opera integrated mining protection in its browser. The feature is automatically enabled the moment you switch on the browser’s default ad blocking tool.

Conclusion

Until now, thousands of websites and millions of individual users have been cryptojacked. Crypto mining without consent ( aka cryptojacking ) is no doubt a condemnable practice, however , In browser crypto mining itself  is something truly innovative. It has created a brand new way of online monetization. Some websites that employ such monetization methods are very honest about this and notify you as soon as you landed on their page and seek for your consent to “borrow” your CPU power ( they should also inform you how much processing power they are intend to utilized ). Some of users don’t mind it and find this a better idea that traditional ad monetization while others have a different opinion.