What’s the Difference Between Cryptomining and Cryptojacking?

A hot topic these days is cryptocurrency. How does it work? Is it a good investment? How do I get cryptocurrency? Like other investment options, you can trade your money for cryptocurrency. Besides traditional investment options, you have the option to mine for cryptocurrency. This is called cryptomining. If you follow our Security Alert, blog or social media, you’ve probably heard about cryptojacking. Today, we will tell you the difference between cryptomining and cryptojacking.

What is cryptomining?

To understand cryptomining, you must first understand how cryptocurrency works. Cryptocurrency is a decentralized system. That means there is no government or entity that backs the currency. This works because there is a public transaction database that functions as a ledger called a blockchain. In order to maintain the safety, integrity and balance of the ledgers, miners are required. Miners are members of the general public that use their computers to validate and timestamp encrypted transactions and add them to the ledger. This process miners go through is crypto mining.

Simply put, cryptomining is using your computer’s resources (CPU, RAM, GPU, etc.) to solve complex equations. Each time you find and solve an equation, you receive cryptocurrency as an award. This can be enticing if you don’t use your computer often and don’t have process heavy applications. Unfortunately, regular people are not the only people that like the sounds of it. Hackers have also started finding other ways to receive cryptocurrency besides ransomware.

What is cryptojacking?

Hackers are using a method called cryptojacking. Although this method is similar to cryptomining in regards to using computer resources to validate transactions in exchange for cryptocurrency, it differs by utilizing other people’s computer resources. Hackers are able to do this through the following methods but not limited to these:

  • Cryptojacking Malware: this is malware that is installed on a smartphone, computer, server or anything that has computing power. This is a trending malware method in 2018 since it doesn’t bring as much attention from authorities like ransomware does. Also, this type of malware doesn’t have a one-time payout. If done correctly, a hacker can stay hidden indefinitely stealing resources to mine cryptocurrency the whole time. For the victims, this is bad because it reduces their productivity and can even physically harm computers. Most commonly, you can see a reduced lifespan of technology. In extreme cases, the malware can physically deform the device in less than 24 hours.
  • Browser Cryptojacking: This method can be achieved in a few ones. One way is breaking into a web server and adding cryptojacking code. This code will activate on the computer of all victims that visit the website. The more reputable the website, the more attractive it is to a hacker. Securing your web server is as important as securing your internal server. Other methods include malicious advertisements and compromised browser attachments.
  • Compromised Wi-Fi Access Points: Another method involves compromising a Wi-Fi access point. Often times this is public Wi-Fi. Once the Wi-Fi access point is compromised, it can inject cryptojacking code into the device of anyone using the Wi-Fi. Of course, if someone has compromised the Wi-Fi access point, there might be other things to worry about like Man-in-the-Middle Attacks. As always, make sure to not check email, do online shopping or banking on public Wi-Fi.

How Do I Protect My Business From Cryptojacking?

A good place to start is having a cybersecurity assessment to see the weaknesses in your IT network or things your current IT provider has overlooked. From here, you can remediate the problems. After all the problems are remediated, it’s important to monitor your network and keep your systems up-to-date. Both of these things can be done with Managed Services from Business Data Services. As a get to know us gift, we are offering a FREE Network Assessment (a $497.00 value). In order to see if you qualify for this offer, please visit us at http://bdsnow.com/free-assessment/ and fill out the form.

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