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By now, most of us have heard of bitcoins. Many people have either invested in the cryptocurrency or at least considered it, but even if you know a great deal about bitcoins, this doesn’t mean to say you know anything about cryptojacking.
What is cryptojacking?
Cryptojacking is a form of cybercrime that every business with an online presence needs to be aware. It involves a hacker hijacking computers in order to mine for cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoins.
What’s unusual about cryptojacking is that it doesn’t steal anything from victims or damage their systems, but hijacks computing processing power in order to mine for cryptocurrency. When systems become infected with cryptojacking malware, they typically experience a large drop in performance, which will go on indefinitely if left undetected.
Over the past year, the number of cryptojacking attacks has risen significantly, with criminals turning to this particular form of attack due to the profits it presents compared with ransomware, the availability of kits of the internet and the fact that attacks are difficult to detect.
Attacks spread in a number of ways. One of the most common is when a user accidentally clicks on a malicious link in an email, thus resulting in the installation of malware.
Another way is when script is injected into websites or adverts, which then execute a script in the victim’s browser. The criminal then drains the computing power while the individual browses on the website.
How can you protect your organisation?
Cryptojacking can go on for months or even years undetected, causing significant disruption to your business and productivity levels. Businesses must be prepared for the ever-present threat of cryptojacking.
Some important controls your business can take to prevent, detect and respond to cryptojacking attacks include:
• Security training
One useful method is to train your staff about how to spot suspicious emails, which will prevent rogue malware from being installed on your system. Staff should report any suspicious behaviour, such as a sudden shutdown in the performance of their computers.
• Proactive network monitoring
By monitoring your network you will help to improve the visibility of threats and swiftly detect attacks. This will prevent them from inflicting widespread damage and disruption.
• Regular vulnerability assessments
These involve searching for unpatched systems, weak configuration and insecure credentials, all of which help to search for weaknesses in your infrastructure and reduce the chances of cryptojacking taking place.
• Ad blocking software
It is wise to invest in software that can help to defend your business against browser-based script injections. Up-to-date ad-blocking software helps significantly in minimizing the risks of your network being infected in this way.
Every business with an online presence must take cryptojacking as seriously as any other type of cyber threat.
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