crypto-mining-malware
Crypto Mining Malware

Crypto Mining Malware Explained With Important Examples And Solutions

Digital currencies are hitting the headlines regularly and are quickly being adopted by the masses across the globe as a mainstream investment vehicle and also a method of payment. Across the globe, cyber criminals are taking the advantage of data centers known as the crypto mining firms to earn profit from this trend. There are various crypto mining malware about which we will discuss in this article. 

Cryptocurrency is an encrypted data string that portrays a unit of currency. It is monitored and organized by a P2P network that is also known as the blockchain that also serves as a safe ledger of transactions such as purchasing and selling and also transferring. Unlike fiat currency or physical money which are issued by the government, digital currencies are completely decentralized, implying they are not issued by any governing body. 

What Is Crypto Mining Malware?

Crypto mining malware is potentially a stealthy malware that farms the resources of a system to develop revenue for the cyber criminals who are controlling it. Instead of using graphic card farms or video game consoles, these specific crypto miners are using the servers and the computers of the individuals around them for their processing power without their permission. This type of crypto mining malware mines digital currencies on the system of their target or they even steal digital currencies using resources in such a way that the owner would not know. 

This process is also known as cryptojacking and is detrimental to the user system, formulating negative side effects like:

  • System slow down, 
  • Increased processor usage, 
  • Overheating computers 
  • Higher than regular power bills. 

The crypto miners use all of these added resources and receive an edge in achieving more digital currencies. Without all the added resources that are used for mining, the process would take much longer, and time is precious since the first miner who solves the blockchain can claim the reward. As long as crypto miners receive what they want, they do not care about the damage that is done to the network of computers that they have used. 

Crypto Mining Malware Cases

The malware used in these crypto miner scams is cleverly modified to make it harder for webmasters to evaluate and clean up. Attacks often pull payloads from any remote server, making it convenient for attackers to quickly modify the injected content on compromised websites. With that let us discuss some crypto mining malware examples. 

  • There is a range of crypto mining software out in the market, one of the most famous ones was Coinhive. Coinhive was a software service that packaged all the elements required to conveniently allow website owners for stealth scripting. It enabled website owners to install coin miners with relative convenience using a simple snippet of JavaScript. This crypto mining script operated in the background of website visitors’ browsers, using any excess CPU power. 

These crypto mining tools catered as an alternative monetization process, but hackers almost immediately mistreated the code. Once they installed that code on compromised websites, they forced visitors into digital currency mining while visiting the site and in most scenarios without any initial indication to the visitor that the mining process had started. When this software is used to mine digital currency using the host of the website or system resources of the visitor without their permission, it is thought of as a form of cryptocurrency mining malware.

  • Another renowned software service across the space of crypto mining is Crypto-Loot, which asserts itself as the alternative to Coinhive. Crypto-Loot is more or less the same notion, but it aims at a specific form of blockchain known as uPlexa and hence is not as famous. The website for Crypto-Loot asserts that their system is better at being undetected. Once associated with a website or web app, it offers an option to coerce visitors to opt-in to the crypto mining, instead of getting forced pop-up ads. The implementation is up to the website owner, so this system can also be abused with relative simplicity.

Methods Of Crypto Mining Malware

Similar to any malicious software, crypto mining malware can come in many types. It can infect a device of the user via several avenues, like visiting a compromised website, clicking a malicious link, downloading an infected application, installing an infected web browser extension, or downloading a malicious file. Some spread and infect other computers on the same network.

Mainly, the crypto miners are varied only in the way they harm website visitors. From the webmasters’ point of view, it is not distinct from any other malware. So all generic technologies are valid. While there are still some prevailing server-side binary crypto miners in the wild, crypto mining malware has been on a reduction side for the last year. 

Conclusion

Everything has its pros and cons. Crypto mining has opened many avenues for crypto miners but at the same time it can also be dangerous and nothing on the internet can be secure. Crypto mining malware is one such thing. So it is crucial to be proactive and take steps to decrease the risk of infection. Crypto mining malware detection at its early stage is very important. While no one can assure that the risk will ever be zero, there are various things that you can do to ensure safety and security like constantly monitoring your website, guarding your browser, or taking help from any cyber security firm that will help you with the crypto mining malware removal.

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