This past week, CBC did an article on a new cybertrend called ‘cryptojacking’. Cryptojacking is when, according to CBC, “hackers infect websites with malicious code that secretly conscripts visitors into an army of cryptocurrency miners. Cryptocurrency mining involves devoting a computer’s processing power to solving a complicated mathematical problem with digital currency offered as a reward … The cryptojacking process is invisible and web surfers typically don’t even realize anything is happening in the background, unless they hear their computer’s fan kick in as the machine is forced to work at its full capacity.” As of late, nearly 50,000 websites have been compromised. Of the 50,000, a lot of those are associated with the WordPress platform, which offers users and business the option to create easy-to-manage websites.
You may be wondering what the big deal is. The thing with cryptojacking is that you will not know if someone is using your computing power to mine cryptocurrency – it goes undetected, starts instantly, and doesn’t require a download. Should this process persist in the long run, your device, be it a mobile phone, iMac, or Windows computer, may literally burnout or become ‘sluggish’ – no one wants that, right? Although this trend isn’t as debilitating as ransomware attacks (remember WannaCry?), it should not be treated as less of an importance.
To help prevent cryptojacking, sources recommend running virus and adware scans regularly, and to be diligent about installing software updates. A simple solution is to close all screens when you are done with them after browsing the internet. This suggestion has a future pitfall – cybercriminals may find ways to install mining programs on your computer, despite all the browsing windows being closed. As mentioned previously, cryptojacking goes largely undetected, but developments are being made to detect the shady techniques early on.