- Cryptojacking is the unauthorized access and use of someone else’s computer to mine cryptocurrency
- Hackers can perform crypto jacking in two basic steps; the first is to find a way to gain access to a user’s computer
- Cryptojacking malware is adaptable and can affect multiple devices, not just your PC or workstation but also android phones
Crypto mining is generally considered a legacy method of acquiring crypto coins since it mainly involves expensive devices and considerable power consumption. It was the pioneering methodology of developing crypto coins and was explicitly defined by the PoW consensus mechanism.
African crypto miners have rapidly grown since then. Although once crypto trading came into the picture, more and more people preferred the latter choice. Despite this, some still profit from it and have established blockchain security measures to curb crypto hacks that target the PoW mechanism. Unfortunately, one hack has plagued many crypto miners over the years: the cryptojacking hack.
This article is a part of a series that seeks to educate individuals on blockchain security. In addition, it elaborates on the intricate details of what to know and look out for to protect your digital assets.
For those familiar with technology, there are a few basic and bitter concepts we each have to accept. The first is that each machine is different and will always be more powerful. No matter how much you invest in blockchain security, you will never achieve perfection.
There will always be some loophole, some roundabout ways that cyber and crypto hackers will attack you. The key is consistent practice and revamping of one’s system. Practice improves, not perfection.
What is Cryptojacking
Cryptojacking is the unauthorized access and use of someone else’s computer to mine cryptocurrency. Just like carjacking is stealing someone’s car and going out for a joy ride, crypto-jacking functions similarly. Crypto mining is built around the PoW mechanism; hence cryptojacking mainly targets it.
Hackers can do this by either installing a rogue crypto mining code on a user’s computer without them noticing or can hijack a crypto miner’s equipment and using it for their own. Either way, cryptojacking was built to acquire that extra power cyber criminals needed to generate just enough cryptocurrency without using their resources.
How cryptojacking works
Blockchain security and technology are built around decentralization. This generally means that there is no central command, so if one system or a couple of systems fail o get corrupted, the network is essentially unaffected. This was the perfect way to ensure the system’s redundancy and curb any malicious user from destroying the system.
Unfortunately, crypto hacks eventually came into the picture. Hackers can perform crypto jacking in two basic steps; the first is to find a way to gain access to a user’s computer. They can do this in several ways, either through social engineering. This gathers information on a user and then uses it to trick them into willingly miming the cryptocurrency.
Yes, trickery in the digital world is something that is not only common in Africa but also in the world. From crypto scams to fake ads and all that to get you to click and reveal vital information is still a rampant vulnerability in blockchain security. There is usually a higher likely hood of individuals falling for it.
The second phase of the attack involves injecting the crypto mining code into their system, which is far easier once they gain access. Most of the time, you will notice that your device is running much slower than usual, but you need help identifying where.
In more sophisticated cryptojacking schemes, they try to pose as legitimate mining applications. They end up consuming twice the computing power while paying you only half or mere pennies while you are stuck there thinking that your PC might need more processing power.
Why should African crypto miners be weary
Africa is still a developing continent, and only a few understand cyber security, let alone blockchain security. Although crypto mining is not as utilized, it still constitutes a sizeable portion of Africa’s crypto ecosystem. In addition, cryptojacking malware is adaptable ad can affect multiple devices, not just your PC or workstation.
Some crypto mining malware can infect your very own phone and utilize its processing power to mine crypto even without your knowledge. In January 2018, researchers discovered the Smominru crypto mining botnet. This malware infected over half a million machines, mainly in Russia, India and Taiwan. They utilized servers, Android phones and even end-user PCs.
Despite the downward trend in African crypto miners, South Africa still had various blockchain security reports. There were multiple attempts by crypto hacks to run cryptojacking software on home users’ machines. In Nigeria, crypto hackers made numerous attempts to take control of user machines. Fortunately, their already-established blockchain security and crypto awareness significantly reduced their rates.
Hackers can use the lack of awareness of crypto phishing scams to facilitate cryptojacking. Posing as a legitimate crypto exchange platform and many Africans won’t know the difference and partake in the fake “crypto mining software.”
How can you prevent cryptojacking
Educating each African crypto miner about the dangers surrounding the PoW mechanism is essential from 51% attacks that side-blind PoW; it is paramount that we teach each crypto user what to look for when dealing with or suspecting a crypto-jacking attack.
Specific sites host some crypto-mining scripts, setting up a policy on which site to follow or access.
Any African to participate in crypto mining must understand the capabilities of their computers and devices. This sets a baseline for the expected performance of the device. If there is any shift or changes in a version for a certain period, then crypto miners should be able to d a thorough analysis of the system.
For mobile devices, it is best to use a Mobile device Management solution that controls users’ devices. Essentially crypto jacking creates a connection between the user and the hacker. The MDM system will notice this connection. The MDM system can help manage both the extensions and the applications that are accessible to the user.
As an African crypto trader, you must understand that following one countermeasure will only partially secure your system. Crypto hackers bank on this ignorance, creating multiple variations of the crypto mining malware, each designed to bypass blockchain security differently. Using two or more countermeasures ensures that your devices will be secure.
Blockchain Security in Africa’s cryptosystem is still a working progress, especially with the increased rate of crypto adoption. Educating and establishing a system that can counter-act crypto hacks is a must-have element.
This contrasts with Africa’s desire to join the powerhouses of cryptocurrency. Taking the initiative of African crypto miners or traders to secure your data is the first step since the significant vulnerability in any security system is human error or negligence. It’s up to you to take the first step in securing your data.