There hasn’t been anything that has generated more buzz on the internet more that cryptocurrencies over the past couple of years.
Cryptocurrencies had been earlier frowned upon as a means of propagating illegal trade only.
But the ease of transactions with these digital currencies has led to almost everyone appreciating their importance.
They have continued to gain more relevance among various quarters over recent times. This has attracted a boom in cryptocurrency trading.
Crypto trading has arguably been the most lucrative online business in recent times. Bitcoin, in particular, has been traded widely. A part of the trade involves mining for the cryptocurrency.
Unfortunately, they are malicious players in the digital currency space. A surge in malicious cryptocurrency mining has been noted.
The mining involves the spread of malware to servers and PCs to secretly mine for cryptocurrencies. This is outright theft. The malware has already been put up for sale on the dark web. If this practice becomes widespread, it could spell doom for digital currencies as we know them.
One of the greatest motivations of investing in cryptocurrencies is trust and security. Blockchain technology, on which cryptocurrencies are anchored, promises top-notch security for your digital currency.
However, the incidences of crypto mining malware will quickly erode this trust that has been built over a long time.
IoT Is a Soft Target
The Internet of Things (IoT) has become very important to human life. Today, literary everything is being made part of the IoT.
Unfortunately, IoT devices are soft targets for the creators of cryptojacking malware. These devices are less powerful than basic PCs, and they lack standard cybersecurity controls. Connecting to servers and PCs through these devices has, therefore, become easy.
It was just a matter of time before loads of money circulating on the blockchain platform in the form of cryptocurrency attracted cybercriminals.
The profits from cryptojacking are still low at the moment. The practice has not yet made enough traction.
It seems like it’s just a matter of time before some high-level crypto thefts are recorded. This has virtually all the players in the digital currency space very worried.
This malware also puts your device at the risk of damage. The scary part is that it will take time for the victim to notice anything unusual. By the time they realize something is not right, it will be too late and they have possibly already lost chunks of money.
How Does Cryptojacking Malware Work?
To understand how you can stay safe from the risks posed by the malware, we need to first understand how it works.
Just like any other malware, cryptojacking malware comes in the form of a client-side web script or a mobile app.
Those with less sophisticated security protocols are at more risk of getting infected. The malware can damage your device, even if you don’t have cryptocurrency to be mined.
Cryptojacking malware operates as follows:
- A dropper code is made to run on the victim’s device without authorization via web scripts and other relevant executables. This gives the attacker a platform from which they can launch phishing schemes, attack unprotected device infrastructure, and maliciously use programs and apps on the device.
- The attacker now has the allowance to run a miner code on the victim’s device. The code makes use of the computer’s power to calculate hashes. This may cause your device to become slower or heat up.
- After the calculations, the attacker can collect the results and convert them into cryptocurrency.
It is important to distinguish between cryptocurrency mining malware and cryptocurrency-stealing malware.
The process outlined above illustrates crypto mining through your device, not necessarily stealing. However, the attacker maliciously accesses your device. The malware affects the performance of your device and could potentially damage it.
If you have some cryptocurrency, it will most likely end up stolen if you fall victim to such an attack.
This is how the stealing is done:
- The malicious malware checks your databases for digital currency wallets and replaces the credentials.
- The malware can also redirect transactions into your wallet to the attacker’s wallets. It is unfortunate that you don’t notice it at first. By the time you get some wind that something is not right, the damage is already done.
The conversation about crypto mining and stealing malware has been gaining traction in many dark web platforms. Many of the discussions revolve around whether the practice is a feasible venture as far as financial gain is concerned.
How Do You Stay Safe?
It is always very unfortunate and painful to lose your hard-earned money, more so when it is stolen by someone.
Even if you don’t deal in cryptocurrencies, you do not want your device to get bricked by the crypto mining malware.
The following are some pointers on how to stay safe from the attacks:
- Always ensure your devices have updated firmware and security infrastructure. The attacker usually takes advantage of vulnerabilities and soft spots on the outdated firmware.
- Always change your device’s default settings to deny unauthorized access to your systems.
- Use additional security programs to detect intrusion and any other malicious activity.
- Stay wary of various methods of malware distribution, such as malicious links and files on websites, and unsolicited emails.
There are also other high-tech security options available. You can adopt cross-generational threat defense techniques.
Systems like Trend Micro XGen offer machine learning solutions that protect your gateways and endpoints, to safeguard your physical and virtual databases. This machine learning technology can keep up with different developments in cybersecurity and adjust accordingly.
Every player in the digital currency space cannot help but get worried about these recent developments.
Criminals on the dark web are plotting new ways to steal others’ crypto wealth. It’s even worse when you don’t have a clue on how to protect yourself.
The malware has already been listed for sale on the dark web. However, if you ensure your security systems are always on point, you have little to worry about.
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