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How Crypto-Jacking Can Harm Your Business

If your business is concerned about cybersecurity and you haven’t heard about crypto-jacking, you’ll need to catch up quickly. You may have heard about ransomware, but crypto-jacking has now become the more popular technique for cyber-criminals to attack and profit off your business. In 2018, occurrences of crypto-jacking increased by 450%. According to a study, YouTube, the Los Angeles Times, and even Showtime have fallen victim to crypto-jacking. Here’s how crypto-jacking can harm your business and what you can do to stop it.


What Is Crypto-Jacking?

Crypto-jacking is the “mining” of cryptocurrencies by hijacking a third-party computer and using that computer’s resources to run a mining script. Anyone can mine for cryptocurrencies on any computer, but crypto-mining can be a long, costly process, especially if done on a personal laptop with few computing resources. For this reason, cyber-criminals are discreetly hijacking third-party computers and servers from companies of all types and sizes to mine cryptocurrencies faster and on a larger scale.

Crypto-jacking starts with malware being deployed onto a computer via a phishing attack, corrupted advertisement, or faulty download button that then runs a crypto-mining script in the background of your web browser. It can be difficult to identify and normally goes unnoticed by the computer’s user.

Crypto-jacking has become more popular than ransomware for several reasons. For one, crypto-jacking presents cyber-criminals with more rewards for less risk in comparison to ransomware. With crypto-jacking, no ransom is demanded, and no files are encrypted. When ransomware might infect a thousand computers, it may only get a handful of businesses to actually pay the ransom. However, once infected with the crypto-mining script, those same thousand computers all work in the favor of the criminal to mine for cryptocurrencies.


The Threat It Poses to Your Business

Crypto-jacking is not a victimless crime. Although it runs in the background on a web browser, normally unknown to a user, it can significantly hinder the performance of the computer or server. High processor usage on your computer, slow response times, and device overheating are all signs of crypto-jacking. However, it’s not just about the end-point devices; critical infrastructure can also become susceptible to crypto-jacking, stealing precious computing resources needed to keep your business efficient and productive. Costs from crypto-jacking include loss of productivity from slow computers, additional energy costs to cool overheating servers, and lost business due to slow website/application response times.


How to Prevent Crypto-Jacking

Stopping crypto-jacking at the source of infection is one strategy. Common infection methods are email and web surfing. Email security filters and cybersecurity training can go a long way in helping your employees navigate common infection methods. When infected, vulnerability scanning services can help identify that malicious crypto-jacking script.


The Bottom Line

Cyber crimes can be difficult to stop if you can’t diagnose them or uncover them in the first place. Talk to a Cyber Sainik Security Expert today to set up a vulnerability scan of your business’ endpoint devices and network.