by Antoinette Huerta
Article filed in

What is cryptojacking?

by Antoinette Huerta

What Is Cryptojacking? - Paubox

Cryptocurrencies use a method called mining to validate cryptocurrency transactions, which are saved in a digital ledger known as a blockchain that is shared across a network of computers. 

Cryptocurrency miners solve complex mathematical problems to validate data before it gets added to the blockchain. Once a problem is solved, a new crypto coin is given to the miner that solved the problem first. 

Cryptojacking is when a computer is used to mine cryptocurrency without permission. As of 2019, cryptojacking was listed as one of the nastiest types of malware. Cryptojacking is easy to execute and cost-effective, so hackers consistently profit from these attacks.

Recently, cybercriminals have gravitated towards cryptojacking over ransomware because it garners a larger profit with less risk. Ransomware involves research and time for development, unlike cryptojacking. Additionally, there is less profit from ransomware as organizations implement advanced malware detection systems, thus limiting the impact of an attack.

SEE ALSO: U.S. Government Ramps Up Fight Against Malware

How cryptojacking works

There are two standard methods used for cryptojacking: the first is when cryptojackers send someone malicious links via email, which load a cryptomining code onto the victim’s computer. 

The second method is when cryptojackers infect an online ad or website with JavaScript code, which is executed as soon as the website or ad has been opened. This method utilizes someone’s internet connection to mine cryptocurrency. 

Cryptojacking does not damage computers like some types of malware because cryptojacking aims to steal CPU processing resources. Victims are usually unaware that they have been hacked because the cryptomining code silently works in the background. It is also difficult to trace the source. 

Cryptominers often combine cryptojacking malware with other types of malware to ensure the most profit for the cybercriminals.

How to identify cryptojacking

Although cryptojacking can go undetected, some signs indicate cryptojacking.

The first is crashing or overheating systems. Cryptocurrency mining requires a large amount of power, and victims may see higher than average electricity bills. The second is slow computer performance. 

Additionally, someone could notice unfamiliar files or browser window icons remaining active even after the window has been closed. 

How to protect against cryptojacking

The best way to protect yourself is to avoid getting infected.

Here are some steps healthcare providers can share with employees to prevent cryptojacking:

  • Only download from trusted sites
  • Don’t click on suspicious links
  • Keep systems updated
  • Install ad-blockers 
  • Monitor file changes on company websites or web servers
  • Remove unnecessary browser extensions

Don’t forget about protecting your email

As email is one of the most common methods used to cryptojack a computer, solid cybersecurity protection that includes email security is crucial to protect healthcare providers from data breaches and HIPAA violations

Paubox Email Suite Plus blocks adware, spam, and other threats from reaching the inbox. Our patented feature ExecProtect combats display name spoofing, and Zero Trust Email requires an additional piece of evidence to authenticate every single email before being delivered to your team’s inboxes.

Our HITRUST CSF certified email encryption solution enables you to send HIPAA compliant email directly to your patients’ inboxes with no password or portal required.

Try Paubox Email Suite Plus for FREE today.