The upsurge of crypto-mining attacks

Crypto mining is a dynamic cybersecurity threat that is causing concern among individuals and organizations. We dive into it here.

09-01-2024 - 5 minute read. Posted in: cybercrime.

The upsurge of crypto-mining attacks

Crypto-mining attacks have become an omnipresent and dynamic threat in the field of cybersecurity, raising serious concerns among people, organizations, and even governments. The increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum has attracted cybercriminals who aim to take advantage of naïve victims' processing capacity by offering quick returns. We will examine the many aspects of crypto-mining attacks in this detailed blog post, including what they are, how they operate, and the precautions you can take to safeguard your company and yourself.

Understanding crypto-mining

Crypto-mining, short for cryptocurrency mining, is the process by which new units of a cryptocurrency are created and transactions are confirmed and added to the blockchain. Depending on the cryptocurrency, miners must solve challenging mathematical problems known as Proof of Work (PoW) or other consensus techniques using specialized technology and software. Miners receive newly generated coins and transaction fees as payment for their work.

Definition of crypto-mining attacks

Cryptojacking, another name for crypto-mining attacks, is the illegal mining of cryptocurrency using another person's computer resources. Crypto-mining attacks concentrate on utilizing the victim's processing power for the attacker's financial advantage, in contrast to traditional cyberattacks that seek to steal data or interfere with services.

How crypto-mining attacks work

Crypto-mining attacks often follow a specific pattern. This might consist of:

  • Infection: Malware infection is usually the first step in crypto-mining attacks. To get malware onto a victim's system, cybercriminals employ a variety of vectors, including phishing emails, malicious websites, and compromised software.

  • Execution: A crypto-mining script or module is launched by the malware as soon as it infects a device. Without the victim's permission, this script uses their CPU and GPU resources while it is running in the background.

  • Mining: The infected device joins a bigger mining pool where its processing power is combined with the compromised devices' combined processing power. They collaborate to solve cryptocurrency puzzles, with the attacker receiving the rewards.

  • Profit: While the victim faces lower system performance, higher electricity costs, and possible hardware wear and tear, the attacker obtains the cryptocurrency rewards in their wallet.

Explaining the increase in crypto-mining attacks

Several factors contribute to the increasing prevalence of crypto-mining attacks, such as:

  • Anonymity: Because cryptocurrencies provide a certain amount of anonymity, it might be challenging to identify the people behind the money made via crypto-mining attacks.

  • Execution ease: Thanks to easily accessible tools and resources on the dark web, attackers may locate and use crypto-mining malware with ease.

  • Financial incentives: Cybercriminals are motivated to undertake crypto-mining attacks as a profitable means of making illicit earnings due to the possibility of financial benefit.

  • Low risk: Compared to other cybercrimes like data breaches, which may have more serious legal repercussions, crypto-mining attacks are comparatively low risk.

The impact of crypto-mining attacks

Attacks using crypto-mining can cost people and organizations money or cause sensitive data to be lost, among other negative consequences. Specifically, attacks involving crypto-mining could result in:

  • Performance degradation: Often, victims report a noticeable decrease in the functionality of their device, which can impair user experience and productivity.

  • Increased energy costs: Mining uses a lot of electricity, which means the victim could potentially receive higher energy bills.

  • Hardware damage: Prolonged mining can put stress on hardware parts, which could lead to long-term harm or a shorter lifespan.

  • Data breaches: Crypto-mining software occasionally comes packaged with other viruses, which raises the possibility of data breaches and the loss of confidential data.

Safeguarding against crypto-mining attacks

Being proactive is crucial to preventing cryptocurrency mining. The following preventative actions can be taken by people and organizations to protect themselves from crypto-mining attacks:

  • Use security software: To identify and stop malware that mines cryptocurrency, use reliable antivirus and anti-malware programmes.

  • Frequent updates: Patch vulnerabilities that attackers might exploit by keeping operating systems and software up to date.

  • Ad-blockers: To stop harmful mining scripts on websites, use ad-blockers or browser extensions.

  • Network monitoring: To spot odd network activity linked to cryptocurrency mining, use intrusion detection solutions.

  • User education: Teach employees and users how to spot fraudulent software downloads and phishing scams.

  • Implement whitelisting: Put whitelisting into practice by limiting the execution of scripts and apps to reliable sources alone.

  • Resource monitoring: Continually keep an eye out for anomalous CPU/GPU utilization or sudden increases in power consumption.

In summary

Attacks using crypto-mining pose an increasing risk in the dynamic field of cybersecurity. Because cybercriminals are still able to profit financially from the attraction of cryptocurrencies, it is essential that people and organizations remain on guard. In an increasingly digital environment, we can safeguard our computing resources, personal data, and general cybersecurity by comprehending the nature of these threats and putting preventive measures in place. Remain vigilant, safe, and ahead of the threat posed by crypto-mining.

Author Emilie Hartmann

Emilie Hartmann

Emilie Hartmann is a student and copywriter at Moxso, where she is a language nerd and always on the lookout for new and exciting topics to write about. She is currently doing her Master's in English, where she is primarily working in the fields of Creative Writing and Digital Humanities.

View all posts by Emilie Hartmann

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