Malicious crypto-mining malware: What it is and how to deal with it

Malicious crypto-mining malware- What it is and how to deal with it

It’s like no previous cyberattack, the cryptojacking kind. If attackers are able to get access to your data or control your network, they don’t steal or ransom it. They secretly use your hardware, including your processor, when you are not looking to mine cryptocurrencies.

Since 2017, the popularity of cryptojacking has risen significantly. More than 470,000 unique varieties of cryptomining malware were discovered using Palo Alto Networks’ WildFire security technology, which doesn’t count web-based JavaScript mining scripts as malware. Almost 40% of global corporations have been impacted by these viruses.

Researchers discovered that malware infections rose in relation to the rise in cryptocurrency value. Bitcoin was around 20 times the average ransomware payout in December 2017, valued at over $20,000. However, while the price of that cryptocurrency has settled around $6,000, that doesn’t mean that cryptocurrency supremacy is diminishing.

Some firms might flounder, but cryptomining and malware that leverages it will not go anywhere. As far as hackers exploiting decentralised currency is concerned, that process is easier than ever before because they can just “borrow” your computer when you’re not using it. As much or as little they utilise it, each infected CPU always delivers a 100% return.

Even if Cryptojacking ceases to be profitable, it will remain.

A blockchain-based system such as Bitcoin has much more than just being a passing fad, since it is what makes cryptocurrency much more than just a trend. Bitcoin’s unique features are being utilised in several industries outside of cash, including as law, agriculture, real estate, and various others. As such, digital wealth creation is a popular target for hackers.

It is perfectly legal to mine cryptocurrency, but it requires a considerable investment in hardware to get any return. That is, if you purchased a very powerful computer with numerous high-end discs, you could potentially recover your investment in a few years.

In the mind of a hacker, however, money spent on new hardware is merely a means to an end. Malicious code written to use the computing power of thousands of processors around the world is the goal. It will end up being a lot better financial decision to buy them new equipment than than investing in their own hardware.

malicious software that has been specially designed to disguise itself when operating in the background, and to only become active when your PC is inactive. Your data and network are protected. Codes with the purpose of being in place as long as possible are the most effective.

Warning signs to be on the lookout for

Because it’s impossible to know you are being cryptojacked, cryptojacking is known as “phantom malware.” However, regularly filling your device’s available computing power will result in unexpected behaviours, which can be an early warning flag. In addition, the hacker still has to retrieve their prize, which, as it is typically left behind, leaves a breadcrumb trail to follow.

Business hours are only a few hours long, therefore during that time, employees don’t go far enough to push their computers to their limits (except for IT personnel, graphic designers, and other tech-heavy roles). Assuming that each piece of equipment they use will endure for several years, on average, they should not notice any performance declines for the time being.

The biggest problem is that when everyone leaves at night, the PCs and laptops used by the business are left on all night, and they only survive a fraction of the time. With increased CPU use, there will be a greater chance that the processors will burn out before their expected lifetime. Poor staff productivity and longer-than-planned infrastructure upgrades are possible results.

These indications won’t become obvious until your hardware deteriorates. Some monitoring systems will be able to pinpoint items like ATMs and microwaves that are functioning at 3 A.M. as well as how much power they’re using. With analytic software, it’s possible to track down and detect communications that your hardware shouldn’t be sending to locations where it doesn’t belong.

To say that cryptojacking tools are even more lucky is to say that they have the same weaknesses as all other forms of malware. One good example is, it only works if you let it in. It is possible to prevent most network-based attacks by using proper preventative and security measures. If your system is compromised, routing the virus out ahead of time will help ensure minimal harm.

Best practises for safeguarding IT systems

A strong first step in keeping your machine malware-free is to invest in strong antivirus software, which protects against both spam and phishing email scams. Malicious software such as ransomware, phishing, and cryptojacking is often employed using email phishing techniques. A high-quality off-premise and cloud-based backup system is also essential for protecting your data in the worst-case scenario.

These are as inexpensive as they are crucial, but if you train your staff to be diligent, only then will they function. Techniques such as display-name spoofing may deceive some anti-phishing tools, and staff who are overconfident may still be tricked into welcoming cryptojacking malware.

Malware is usually installed using malicious software, and if such malware is present, performance monitoring and analytics tools will be able to show malware’s incriminating symptoms. If the virus affects a large percentage of your system, you may have to reinstall your software or reinstall your operating system and begin from scratch using your previously backed-up data.

You can get an in-depth systems analysis performed by a managed IT service provider that checks the software registries and tests the functioning of each device. In order to clean up your computer, your service provider will do a complete retest to make sure nothing has been missed. You’ll be doing your part to make sure security measures are put in place to prevent a repeat.

For people like thieves, printing money is a dream come true, and due to the profitability of cryptojacking, it is unlikely to go away or disappear. Even large companies could be affected, thus putting in place sound protection procedures is really necessary. Take good antivirus software on board, know the signs, and know how to recover if worst comes to worst. You should stay one step ahead of malware attacks by staying current on threats.

You May Also Like

About the Author: Ruby Singh

On a mission to Help Early-Stage Founders Ruby Singh is a professional content writer is working for several Magazines including Thrive Global, Buzzfeed, etc. As her major project, she is currently interviewing a number of freelancers and digital nomads.