How Cryptocurrency Mining Malware Can Affect Your Small Business

Many of you know that the trend in ransomware in 2017 hurt many businesses. There were many incidents that happened world-wide. Some of those incidents even affected local hospitals and businesses in the Kansas City area. These types of attacks area nightmare for business owners and can cost them tens of thousands. This year, we’ve begun noticing a trend in cryptocurrency mining malware. Although this does not halt your business’s operations all together like ransomware does, it can be just as devastating.

Effects of Cryptocurrency Mining Malware

  • Cripples Productivity: On the surface, it seems like cryptocurrency mining malware does not do much because it doesn’t lock up your staffs’ computers preventing them from doing their work. In reality, this malware will steal resources from the computer’s components, often times the CPU. The amount of resources the malware uses depends on the attacker. We’ve seen cases where infected Android smartphones are exploited to the point where the battery bulges and deforms the frame the next day. If a hacker decides to use all the resources, your employee will not be able to do any tasks at all.
  • Raises Business Costs: Your business can suffer financially in many ways due to cryptocurrency mining malware. One way is electricity. Computers consume electricity whenever they are on. That means whether it is your staff performing key tasks or a hacker doing things in the background, you’re paying for it. On top of that, a hacker can choose to cripple your staffs’ productivity. That means you’re paying for a hacker to make money and paying your staff to sit idle.
  • Shortened Lifespan of Hardware: Since cybercriminals are utilizing your computer’s resources, you will see reduced lifespan of its components. The harder the malware runs the computer, the shorter the lifespan. As stated before, there are cases where malware can run a smartphone to its physical limit in less than a day. Same can be done for computers. That means you have to spend money to replace it once it breaks. Despite this possibility, we’ve noticed that most cryptocurrency mining malware tends to put limits on the CPU and system temperature as to not alert the victim. Which can be worse since that employee will be less productive for a lengthy amount of time.

What SMB Owners Can Do

The first thing we like to recommend is basic software and hardware. If you don’t have a physical firewall and antivirus on all your workstations and servers, you need to get this now. Not having a firewall is the same as not having locks on your doors! Anti-virus is also great for preventing both viruses and malware.

The next thing you should look at doing is educating your staff. A common method malware spreads is through email. If you educate staff to be aware of suspicious emails and not to download attachments from those emails, your chances of becoming infected are greatly reduced. Repeating this education regularly will help remind staff to avoid those emails. Along those lines, you can send test “phishing campaigns” to see who falls for those emails the most. That way you can focus on educating them more frequently than others.

Lastly, we would highly recommend Managed Services. Cybercriminals tend to exploit security holes that are left unpatched. With Managed Services from Business Data Services, your computers and servers stay patched and up-to-date against current threats. That way if an employee does accidentally click on a suspicious email, the malware will not be able to take hold because the security hole is patched. Call Business Data Services at 913-239-0368 to find out more about our Managed Services.

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