With once aggressive cryptocurrency mining service Coinhive closing up shop for good this month, renewed calls to mount a better defense against cryptojacking reverberate throughout the digital community. This after Coinhive’s demise was attributed to, among other mitigating factors, its otherwise benign code being exploited for cryptojacking.

What cryptojacking is

The term itself provides a clue to what cryptojacking essentially is. It is hijacking any device to secretly mine for cryptocurrency. Its usual entry point is via JavaScript. Once an infected link or attachment is accessed, it automatically runs the code that triggers surreptitious cryptomining. This can go on and on for weeks even months without being detected. While the unwitting device owner has to contend with rising electricity bills and failing programs, cybercriminals on the other end illegally shore up digital dough for themselves.

Beef Up

The good news is that honest-to-goodness miners and digital by-standers can do something about this growing threat.  

Here are some suggestions from security applications experts:

  • Knowledge is power. Experts say knowing how to detect if gadgets are being used for secret cryptomining is already half the battle. Among the usual symptoms are inexplicably high processor traffic, sluggish response time, unusual uptick in energy consumption, and device overheating. Once a device is compromised, do this.
  • Defense is best offense. To prevent running malicious codes, use an extension that immediately blocks JavaScript miners. Here are some of the top-ranked blockers based on reliability. Users should also have dependable anti-virus software in place. Here are the best for 2019 according to UK-based consumer technology news and reviews site, techradar.
  • Update. Whether it’s Mac or Windows, make sure software is consistently updated. Software updates fix security problems, offer better protection against latest threats, and improve compatibility with different programs, applications, and devices.

With the recent surge of cryptocurrencies, it is expected that there will be more reported cryptojacking cases given the increasing number of cybercriminals hell-bent on taking advantage of any security flaw. End-users, more than ever, should be aware of this threat and take concrete steps to improve digital protection.

 

 

 

 

 

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