Security experts noted a shift in the cyberthreat landscape during the first half of 2023. Cybercriminals are shifting to stealth, favoring quieter attacks like encrypted threats, Internet of Things (IoT) malware, and their current threat of choice, cryptojacking. The rise in cryptojacking numbers is dramatic: 332 million attacks recorded globally in the first half of 2023, which is an increase of 399% compared to last year.
But what is cryptojacking? And what threats does cryptojacking pose to your business? To understand cryptojacking, we first need to talk about cryptocurrency.
Think of cryptocurrency as “digital” or “virtual” money. The best-known cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, though there are other types of digital coins and tokens. To ensure the operation and security of transactions, cryptocurrency uses cryptography, which you may think of as “fancy math.”
Operating any cryptocurrency requires a large amount of computing power and a significant amount of electrical energy to pull off all that “fancy math.” For example, to “create” or “mine” a bitcoin requires 1,449 kWh of electricity. If the average cost per kWh in the United States is nearly 12 cents, then mining a bitcoin would cost approximately $173. Anyone venturing into cryptocurrency will therefore need large amounts of energy and funds.
Here’s where the cryptojackers come in. These criminals want to reap the benefits of cryptocurrency without shouldering its enormous costs. So what do they do? They hack into other people’s computers and use their equipment to mine cryptocurrency without the owners’ knowledge or permission. So, in effect, they use other people’s electricity and computing power for free.
There are two ways for cryptojackers to use your computer without you knowing it:
Cryptojacking can be a serious problem, especially if done on a large scale. If cryptojackers are able to tap your company’s computers, the following will happen:
Detecting cryptojacking can be tricky, but there are some signs you can look out for:
Here are a few ways to defend yourself from cryptojackers:
When it comes to tech security, you can trust our certified IT experts at Interplay. We provide hands-on IT support to ensure that your systems are well guarded and well managed. Our comprehensive IT services can be customized to the needs of your Seattle-based business. Reach out to us today.