According to a survey by SonicWall, a US-based cybersecurity company, "Cryptojacking" assaults on computer systems have gone up by 30% to 66.7 million in the first half of 2022 compared to the first half of last year 2021.
What is cryptojacking?
- Cryptojacking is a cyber attack wherein a computing device is hijacked and controlled by the attacker, and its resources are used to illicitly mine cryptocurrency.
- Most of the time, a malicious application is installed when a person visits an infected website or clicks on an unsafe link and unknowingly grants access to a device that is connected to the Internet.
Purpose behind Cryptojacking
- Coin mining is a legitimate, competitive process and involves solving complex computational problems to generate blocks of verified transactions that get added to the blockchain.
- This 64-digit hexadecimal numeric code requires a significant computing power, cutting-edge technology, and electrical power to keep the systems involved up and running.
- Cryptojackers co-opt devices, servers, and cloud infrastructure and use their resources for mining. The cost of mining is reduced when "stolen" or "cryptojacked" resources are used.
Why have instances of cryptojacking increased?
- According to the SonicWall’s report, the crackdown on ransomware attacks is forcing cybercriminals to look for alternative methods.
- Cryptojacking involves “lower risk”, and promises “potentially higher payday”.Unlike ransomware, which announces its presence and relies heavily on communication with victims.
Why is this a cause for concern?
- Cryptojacking is hard to detect and the victims of these attacks mostly remain unaware that their systems have been compromised.
- Some telltale signs are the device slowing down, heating up, or the battery getting drained faster than usual.
- Apart from individuals, businesses too are on the target list of cryptojackers.