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What is Cryptojacking, and How Can You Protect Yourself?


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"Cryptojacking is the hot new way for criminals to make money using your hardware. A website you have open in your browser can max out your CPU to mine cryptocurrency, and cryptojacking malware is becoming increasingly common.

What is Cryptojacking?

Cryptojacking is an attack where the attacker runs cryptocurrency-mining software on your hardware without your permission. The attacker keeps the cryptocurrency and sells it for a profit, and you get stuck with high CPU usage and a hefty electricity bill.

While Bitcoin is the most widely known cryptocurrency, cryptojacking attacks usually involve mining other cryptocurrencies. Monero is particularly common, as it’s designed so people can mine it on average PCs. Monero also has anonymity features, which means it’s difficult to track where the attacker ultimately sends the Monero they mine on their victims’ hardware. Monero is an “altcoin,” which means a non-Bitcoin cryptocurrency.

Mining cryptocurrency involves running complex math equations, which use a lot of CPU power. In a typical cryptojacking attack, the mining software will be maxing out your PC’s CPU. Your PC will perform slower, use more power, and generate more heat. You might hear its fans spin up to cool itself down. If it’s a laptop, its battery will die faster. Even if it’s a desktop, it will suck down more electricity and increase your electric bill.

The cost of electricity makes it hard to profitably mine with your own PC. But, with cryptojacking, the attacker doesn’t have to pay the electricity bill. They get the profits and you pay the bill.

Which Devices Can Be Cryptojacked?

Any device that runs software can be commandeered for cryptocurrency mining. The attacker just has to make it run mining software.

“Drive-by” cryptojacking attacks can be performed against any device with a browser—a Windows PC, Mac, Linux system, Chromebook, Android phone, iPhone, or iPad. As long as you have a web page with an embedded mining script open in your browser, the attacker can use your CPU to mine for currency. They’ll lose that access as soon as you close the browser tab or navigate away from the page.

There’s also cryptojacking malware, which works just like any other malware. If an attacker can take advantage of a security hole or trick you into installing their malware, they can run a mining script as a background process on your computer—whether it’s a Windows PC, Mac, or Linux system. Attackers have tried to sneak cryptocurrency miners into mobile apps, too—especially Android apps.

In theory, it would even be possible for an attacker to attack a smarthome device with security holes and install cryptocurrency mining software, forcing the device to spend its limited computing power on mining cryptocurrency."

There is much more in the original "How to Geek" article, including screen shots, why Malwarebytes Premium, hot links etc. here: https://www.howtogeek.com/357571/what-is-cryptojacking-and-how-can-you-protect-yourself/

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I also get more faked emails from SKPs long dead or long gone from the Internet and other friends I have not heard from in years, which have only a link in them with no explanation and lots of other folks alphabetically in the email's "To:" line. I know better than to click on those. I hope you folks do too. Oh I do click on links in a personal email from folks I trust and are corresponding with regularly beyond annual Christmas letters. (or FaceCrook posts) I have replied and asked if this was indeed them and got no response. I did not open the link just replied and deleted the email.

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