A gift and a curse
The cryptocurrency space is booming. Every day, more ideas are generated around the blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Crypto-exchanges are adapting to incorporate all the new tokens that are being released, and the traders themselves are having a field day with the rise in cryptocurrency value.
The is a downside of all of this, however. Mining for popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has become very difficult, as the mathematical problems needed to be solved in order to mine one coin are so complex that it takes a lot of energy and processing power. To make matters worse for miners, they are now also being targeted, along with traders, by cryptojackers.
What is cryptojacking?
Mining for cryptocurrencies is, as mentioned, very expensive. The gear needed costs a lot in and of itself, and then you had to add the electricity bill on top of the costs for the equipment. Needless to say, not everyone can afford to be a miner. This has led some hackers to come up with the idea of hijacking the computers of other people. This allows the hackers to mine for cryptocurrencies without having to invest a single penny in equipment or electricity.
Isn’t the blockchain safe?
One of the big advantages of a system that runs on blockchain technology is that it is very secure. There is no one place where all data is stored, as everything is decentralized. All transactions are recorded and stored on the digital ledger, which can be accessed by all nodes on the network. This means that there is no single point of failure. Unfortunately, this also means there are many points of entry for cryptojackers.
Cryptojacking is on the rise
According to recent reports, the number of hackers hijacking the processing power of others to mine their own coins has risen by a staggering 8,500% in 2017 alone. Given that cryptocurrencies are becoming ever more popular and valuable, this number is set to rise again in 2018. As a whole, the cybercrime industry rakes in $1.5 trillion every year.
You can’t run or hide
One of the biggest problems with combating cryptojacking is that it is so ubiquitous. No matter what device you have, there is a chance that it can be used for mining cryptocurrencies. Smartphones, laptops, servers, and tablets have the most processing power. But even Internet of Things (IoT) items can be hijacked. This means that if you are using a smart-fridge or a webcam, it can be targeted by cryptojackers.
How does it work?
There are several ways in which cryptojackers can get their hands on your processing power. One of them is to get you to download a cryptocurrency mining application disguised as something else. Most Internet users are savvy, so this will not fool everyone. But hackers can also embed cryptocurrency mining scripts into a website, so when you visit it, your processing power is being sapped by the website.
What do you think can be done about cryptojacking? Leave your comments below!