Cryptojacking:Everyone is at risk

Posted on December 20, 2017 12:33 am

Recently, security researchers revealed that up to 1 billion users of streaming services could have been victims of cryptojacking with most notable one being  the popular file sharing network The Pirate Bay which has allegedly been cryptojacking its users’ computers.But what is cryptojacking? It is simply a method of mining cryptocurrencies within browsers without a user’s consent. The formula involves JavaScript on a web page to mine for cryptocurrencies and JavaScript code that is responsible for the in-browser mining need no installation. With a simple loading, the affected page will run the in-browser mining code. Victims of this latest trend have been reporting a significant spike in activity after visiting a website, an indication hackers could be using their browsers for dirty dealings.The positive side is that one can stop being cryptojacked and there is no doubt its popularity has been on the rise recently and a security expert I spoke to yesterday said cryptojacking can make affected computers and mobile devices unresponsive or cause them to slow down significantly but she was quick to say users can avoid it by downloading browser extensions that block cyrptojacking activities. She added that the rising fortunes of Bitcoin leaves her convinced that scammers are on a mission to capitalize because cryptojacking is one of the ways to cash in on the cryptocurrency craze and it is an increasingly attractive activity for cybercriminals. She believes the cryptojacking will be a motivator for cybercriminals that want to exploit victims’ computing resources to mine cryptocurrency and the situation will only worsen. Her recent findings show no signs of a slowdown with cryptojacking and feels hacker tools and techniques will increase in sophistication and accessibility. We are going to see gangs of cybercriminals coalesce and lured by inexpensive tools and the promise of an easy profit, often publicised and glorified in the internet. The cryptojacking attacks will require more cybersecurity training, increased education and awareness and a multi-layered approach to personal security.

She also said the security implications of cryptojacking is at the moment of massive changes and few people have the ability to play catch-up when it comes to cyber criminals specializing on it because it is rapidly expanding to accommodate bitcoin and other virtual currencies. “People need to be as vigilant with different types of cryptojacking,” she said.Going forward, she’s certainly convinced that cybercriminals will organise themselves into as-a-service organisations, acting as foils to a cybersecurity industry where customers will increasingly take security products as a service to speed adoption and simplify administration. When it comes to cryptojacking, not even the new artificial intelligence based security tools and ransomware scanners, as well as better techniques for using digital certificates to certify legitimate tools, would be of any use as innovation in the cryptojacking evolves to fight ever more-complex solutions offered to counter it.As well as increasingly damaging cryptojacking attacks and exploitation of credentials stolen from users of travel sites, security researcher warned of an increase in cryptojacking attacks, and the impact of crypto currencies.Listening to her it was clear cybercriminals would increasingly use and refine adversarial machine-learning models to avoid detection by systems at target individuals and therefore machine learning models will need to evolve quickly to keep up with these threats by incorporating instance-based approaches.The value of cryptojacking will increase as security companies turn to machine learning-based solutions. As someone told me recently, websites have found a new way to make money from us using our computer to generate virtual currencies like bitcoin and everyone is at risk. In today’s world, the reality is that all individuals and organisations connected to the internet are vulnerable to cyber attack. The number, type and sophistication of attacks continues to grow and cryptojacking is just one of the latest addition.It isn’t only organisations that are under threat. Even individuals that don’t believe they have much to offer hackers are being targeted. So even if you think you’re a small target, you might still be at risk.

Contador Harrison