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Cryptojacking Becoming a Serious Cybersecurity Threat as Crypto Miners Get Advanced in Their Methods

Cryptojacking is an illegal way of mining cryptocurrency that cybercriminals do by decoding arithmetic equations on someone else’s device, which could be a smartphone, computer or network server. Mining digital currency is profitable, but it requires plenty of computing power. Cryptojacking occurs only when a user unknowingly clicks on a malicious link or downloads a rogue app or browser. Mining cryptocurrency begins when a crypto mining code gets loaded into the victim’s browser.

Cryptojacking mining has become a threat to enterprises as it can cause several problems, from inflated server running costs to data breaches. The stealthy nature of cryptojacking makes it a handy way of making money for cryptominers. Being an easy method of making money, cryptojacking malware might replace ransomware as the most common online cybersecurity threat.

What is cryptojacking malware?

Cryptojacking malware is spreading rapidly, especially after the skyrocketing returns that cryptocurrencies provide. With a single Bitcoin of around $60000 at its peak, cryptojacking is a serious business for cybercriminals.

In 2019, members of a cybercrime gang were sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. They were found guilty of mining crypto on 400,000 devices infected with their malware development.

Cryptohackers or cybercriminals do not bear the cost of electricity or other hardware costs. Instead, the infected computing systems are made to incur the burden. This is done by spreading malware using malicious software and operating through scripted browsers.

What makes cryptojacking malware a popular way of a cyberattack?

Hijacking a computer to earn cryptocurrencies has become a worrisome threat for all. It is not less than a cyberattack when just a click on a malicious link enables a crypto mining code that gets loaded on computers.

Another method that hackers use to infect an online app or website is by auto-executing links once loaded on a browser. Hackers can use these computers to mine cryptocurrencies or digital coins. While unsuspecting victims continue to use their computers, the cryptomining code works in the background. All they may notice is that the computer's performance is slower than usual.

Cryptojacking is rising due to the ease with which hackers can make money. Cybercriminals hold expertise in stealing crypto wallets from computing devices by installing malicious codes. Once the code gets loaded, the coding starts functioning independently and becomes untraceable. This code is powerful enough to do the mining job for cybercriminals and hijackers. The code performs computations, updates cryptocurrency and blockchains and creates new tokens on behalf of hackers.

Data suggests cryptojacking is becoming a larger problem

When Coinhive JavaScript miner was introduced, it enabled Monero mining directly within a browser. In February 2018, Bad Packets Report found that 34,474 sites were running Coinhive, and the name Conhive has become synonymous with crypto-jacking. 4000 government websites in the UK, US, and Australia were infected due to a vulnerability in a third-party technology that was purposely designed to assist the visually impaired.

A few years back, security researchers at Kaspersky Lab warned about a miner focusing on corporate networks. PowerGhost allowed malware to attach itself to victims' work computers or servers. In August 2018, figures released by Citrix showed that more than 30% of UK enterprises were hit by crypto jacking over 30 days.

Businesses with the Internet of Things (IoT) services are more at risk because of their network's complexity and level of connectivity. The more access points for the cryptojacker, the higher the level of vulnerability.

Why is cryptojacking malware a threat?

One of the costs of cryptojacking is soaring electricity bills and drained batteries of the website visitor’s device. The energy needed to mine one bitcoin requires about 215 kilowatt-hours. But prices go beyond massive electricity bills. Affected devices can have a shorter lifespan, and performance gets degraded.

When running on a paid-for cloud service, running costs can substantially increase if cryptojacking occurs and is undetected for some time. Cryptojacking is not designed to steal data, but the vulnerability caused by it can lead to data breaches.

Negative impact on the device

  1. Slows down the performance of a device, making it sluggish.

  2. Overheating of batteries.

  3. Damages the device making it unusable.

  4. Productivity reduction and the increasing cost of electricity used by computer.

crypto mining malware

Ways to block cryptocurrency mining in the web browser

You can protect yourself from cryptojacking by following basic cybersecurity practices. It is one of the best defenses against cyber threats.

  1. To block cryptojacking, Google and Mozilla provide extensions that prevent cryptojackers from accessing the browser. You can use adblocking and anti-crypto mining extensions.There are various browser extensions that you can install, such as NoCoin or minerBlock browser extensions. Other than this, Firefox users can install the NoScripts browser.

  2. 3. Good cybersecurity practices include strengthening access controls and tightening device security. Keeping systems patched and installing antivirus software is a must. Some antivirus software includes crypto miner detection as a standard feature.

  3. Update web filtering tools.

  4. Organizations should train employees on what to look out for to detect malicious links. Measures such as authenticating emails and two-factor verification can help to mitigate cyber risks.

How does cryptojacking start on your system?

Cryptojacking is CPU intensive. If you find a significant spike in CPU usage, you can quickly identify that someone has probably infiltrated your computer. The task manager helps to determine if anything suspicious is happening to mine cryptocoins.

  1. When websites, tools or apps are left running without being used, they become potential carriers of malicious codes, so they should be identified and closed down.

  2. Opening a seemingly unknown email attachment results in downloading a code that continuously works in the background without the victim’s knowledge.

  3. When you visit an infected or malicious website, ads pop up in the browser. This ultimately results in a script that automatically executes without the victim’s knowledge. Many crypto mining scripts are delivered through ads, so an ad blocker can help prevent malware.

Difference between cryptojacking and cryptomining

Cryptomining is a process of verifying and adding various cryptocurrency transactions to the blockchain digital ledger. Cryptominers compete to solve complex mathematical problems with hash functions associated with the block that contains the transaction data.

The miner who cracks the code can authorize the transaction and, in return, earns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Cryptomining is not profitable unless the operation is on a large scale. This is why cybercriminals may distribute mining among different computers, using a ‘mining pool’ to make profits. Cryptojacking is lucrative because the victims carry the costs. Desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and even entire server systems are vulnerable to cryptojackers.

Five best anti-cryptojacking malware tools, cryptojacking blocker tools

Cryptojacking is one of the biggest online threats. To ensure 100% protection from getting hijacked by cybercriminals or being infected by cryptojacking malware, it is essential to safeguard your devices by installing a cryptojacking blocker.


This anti-cryptojacking software tool helps block CoinHive and keep your computer safe from other infamous miners.

NoCoin Browser Extension

This is a commonly used extension to restrict the entry of coin miners to mine from your operating system. You can use an extension browser for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Download this extension by signing up at GitHub and block various cryptojacking software.


It is one of the best anti-crypto mining extensions that safeguard your system from getting infected by malicious cryptojacking links and software. It helps your system to first detect weak mining sources or find the source of cryptojacking malware. And then, it eliminates the chances of cryptojackers infecting your device. You can download this anti-cryptojacking software from Github.


This anti-malware tool does not affect the speed of your computer and works best with Windows. You can download the software and guard your system against cryptojacking.


MineBlock is another effective tool built with a strong algorithm that helps to detect crypto miners. You can download this extension browser for free and safeguard yourself from all cryptojacking malware (coinhive, jsecoin, crypto-loot, etc.).

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