How To Spot A Cryptojacking Attack

Cryptojacking is a possible threat to cryptocurrency owners. It is an attack in which threat hackers mine bitcoin at the expense of the target’s resources. If not addressed at an early stage, the effects of this exposure can be severe.


If you are unaware of this attack, let us guide you completely. 

In this article, we will discuss what cryptojacking attacks are. Also, we’ll go over real-world examples to help you understand its gravity.


What Is Cryptojacking And How Does It Work?


Cryptojacking is the unlawful use of another person’s computing resources to mine cryptocurrency. Hackers want to take over every system they lay their hands on to mine crypto illegally. It could be desktops, servers, or cloud infrastructure.


Cryptojacking scripts, irrespective of delivery mode, often operate silently in the background as unwary victims use their devices regularly. The noticeable signs may be slower performance, delays in execution, or overheating. Other signs may include excessive power usage or costly cloud computing expenses.


In cryptocurrency, coin mining is a legal operation that delivers new currency into circulation. The approach works by awarding cash to the first miner who solves a challenging computational task. This problem resolves blocks of validated transactions, which are then added to the bitcoin blockchain.


Miners receive compensation for their role as auditors. They confirm the integrity of Bitcoin transactions, explained a recent Investopedia tutorial on how Bitcoin mining works. Mining serves an essential purpose besides feeding miners’ pockets and maintaining the Bitcoin ecosystem. It is the sole means to put new bitcoins into circulation.


Earning cryptocurrencies through coin mining often needs significant computing power and energy. Furthermore, the cryptocurrency ecosystem is constructed so that mining becomes more complex, and its incentives diminish with increased competition. As a result, cryptocurrency coin mining is costly, with costs growing continuously.


Cyber attackers reduce mining costs by exploiting computer and energy resources. They use a variety of hacking tactics to gain access to computers that will perform the computational work illegally. Then it will direct the output to a site the hacker controls.

What Does Cryptojacking Malware Mean for Your Business?

Malicious mining may be less destructive than other cyber threats like ransomware. But it should still be taken seriously. The impact of cryptojacking attacks on an organization may be indirect or direct. The targets are the ones who have to pay for the computing power.


In addition to significantly increasing energy consumption, mining affects hardware aging. It overtaxes computing cores, even discrete graphics card cores. To facilitate illicit cryptocurrency extraction. A cryptojacking attack sometimes goes unnoticed for several months. Making it challenging to estimate the full impact of these expenses.


According to research, infected devices may become physically deformed after mining cryptocurrency maliciously for two consecutive days using mobile mining malware. In addition, wasted bandwidth reduces the speed and efficiency of real computing workloads. 


Organizations have experienced computer shutting down because a program consumes all the resources. Malicious mining shouldn’t be included, even though some valid justifications exist. , Such as resource-intensive background operations or automated upgrades.


Cryptojacking malware may overrun a system and cause serious performance problems. And this will immediately affect your clients and end users. For example, if a healthcare provider falls victim, personnel might not be able to access vital patient health information.


Additionally, critical infrastructure has been the target of attacks, including a European water business. At first glance, cryptojacking can seem like an easy hack. But the online criminal behind such assaults might pose a more significant threat than a greedy parasite. Cryptojacking might be used as a ruse to draw attention away from more real threats, much to how ransomware does.


Also, attacks may be paired with phony antivirus software to bombard users with adverts demanding payment to clean their gadgets. It is a scary fusion of harmful mining and ransomware. Attacks could be monetarily driven. 

Yet, the real motivation behind cryptojacking malware may be to overburden compromised systems and harm physical infrastructure.

Types Of Cryptojacking

There are two primary categories of cryptojacking. One works by infecting the web browser, while the other relies on host-based techniques.


Host Cryptojacking

This strategy functions like common malware and phishing attempts. Victims of cryptojackers get tricked into clicking on clean URLs that download cryptomining software onto their devices. 


All kinds of devices are susceptible to host-based cryptojacking. For instance, apps on the Google Play Store can be used to launch Trojan horse cryptojacking attacks against Google Android smartphones.


In addition, open-source code and publicly accessible application programming interfaces are susceptible to infection by cryptojacking malware. It can then spread to computers that download the code, API, and any software created. Also, cryptojackers can access unprotected cloud storage.


Cryptojacking software may spread over all network nodes after it has gained access to a victim’s endpoint. Many cryptojacking scripts also include worming features that can find and replace any other cryptojacking malware already active on a victim’s computer.

Browser Cryptojacking

When users access the webpage holding the material, their web browser immediately launches crypto mining software. This is how the browser-based technique operates. This technique is also referred to as drive-by crypto mining. 


Hackers may either build a website with embedded JavaScript code for crypto mining and lead visitors to it. Or they may infiltrate an already-existing website. Existing sites can be penetrated by programmatic advertising, malware that displays adverts on websites automatically. 


Website owners have limited control if the program runs on their site because it occurs without their awareness. To escape discovery, they place compromised adverts on a website as pop-unders. And they intend to hide under windows open on a victim’s computer or phone. 


This malware type disregards ad blocks, which employ domain-generating algorithms to send advertising to all site visitors. Cryptojackers can also use JavaScript to inject adverts into websites. Some websites even clarify that users’ devices are being used to execute crypto-mining software while being viewed. 


Other applications for this strategy have been suggested, such as generating revenue for websites and services and using crowdsourcing for emergency assistance. Sometimes, the crypto mining malicious code only runs when a victim visits an infected website. Or even when he fails to recognize the compromised pop-under ad. It is not saved on the victim’s computer.

Examples Of Cryptojacking Attacks


Coinhive is no longer in existence. But it is worth investigating because it was essential in the growth of the cryptojacking menace. Coinhive was accessed via an internet browser and installed a Javascript file into users’ pages. Coinhive was the go-to cryptojacking software until its operators shut it down.


This resulted from a decline in hash rate following a Monero fork and a dip in the cryptocurrency market, which made cryptojacking less profitable.


WannaMine v4.0

WannaMine v4.0 and its successors attack hosts using the EternalBlue exploit. The EternalBlue exploit binaries are saved in a C: Windows directory called “Network Distribution.” This WannaMine variation randomly produces a.dll and service names from a collection of hard-coded strings. This is how it maintains host persistence.



BadShell is a type of fileless malware that does not require a download. It uses standard Windows programs such as PowerShell, Task Scheduler, and the Registry, making it hard to find.



FaceXWorm uses social engineering to trick Facebook Messenger users into clicking on a bogus YouTube link. The phony site encourages visitors to download a Chrome extension to see the information. Still, the extension hijacks its victims’ Facebook accounts and spreads the link over their friend networks. 


FaceXWorm does more than hijack users’ PCs to mine cryptocurrency. It intercepts credentials when users attempt to log into specified sites. Such as Google and MyMonero, leads users to bogus platforms that want a small amount of bitcoin as part of the identity verification process and link users to other malicious sites.



Black-T uses accessible Docker daemon APIs to attack AWS customers. The virus can also use scanning tools to locate other vulnerable Docker daemon APIs to broaden its cryptojacking activity.


5 Surefire Ways to Detect Cryptojacking


Cryptojacking has the potential to ruin your business completely. Compromised systems may be challenging to identify. The malicious code of crypto mining scripts may easily evade detection. Hence, you and your IT staff must be vigilant.


Listed below are some methods for spotting cryptojacking before it’s too late:


The resource-intensive approach of cryptojacking can cause computing systems to overheat. This can damage computers or shorten their longevity. Also, overheated equipment is associated with fans operating for longer than usual to calm down the system.

CPU Usage

You may have your IT staff monitor and evaluate CPU consumption. Or, you can do it yourself. This is possible by using the Activity Monitor or Task Manager. 

When users visit a website with little or no digital content, there is an increase in Cpu usage. And this indicates that crypto-mining scripts are running.

Decline In Performance

A decrease in the performance of your gadgets is one of the most typical indications of cryptojacking. These include PCs, notebooks, tablets, and mobile devices. 

Sluggish systems can be the first sign of crypto mining. Therefore, teach your staff to alert IT of any central processing unit speed drop. 

Malware Scanning

Cryptomining malware uses computer resources as cryptojacking scripts do. Malware, such as CryptoLocker, may infect computers, encrypt files, and hold them hostage for Bitcoin. 

To spot these harmful apps, scan your protection software for malware. Besides, you may use tools like PowerShell to detect a cryptojacking attack. 

Battery Drain


A hacked device’s battery always drains rapidly.

Tips On How To Prevent Cryptojacking 


Despite the difficulty in detecting if your computer system has been infiltrated by cryptojacking, there are ways to stop these assaults. Plus, you can safeguard your computer, networking systems, and crypto-assets:


Train Your Employees

IT departments depend on staff to notify them when systems overheat or run slowly. Not just that, employees need to understand cyber security. They should also learn to avoid clicking links in emails that may contain cryptojacking code and only download from known sources.


Instruct The IT Department

IT personnel should be taught how to spot cryptojacking. They must be aware of any signs of an assault and be ready to respond swiftly with more inquiry.


Use Anti-Cryptomining Extensions


Web browsers are generally used to deploy cryptojacking scripts. Block cryptominers across the web with browser extensions such as No Coin, minerBlock, and Anti Minder.


Invest In A Solid Cybersecurity Program

A comprehensive cybersecurity application, such as Kaspersky Total Security, can identify risks and guard against cryptojacking malware. It is better to set up protection before becoming a victim, as with all other malware precautions. 


Additionally, updating your apps and operating system with the most recent patches is good. Particularly those that affect online browsers.

Deactivate Javascript


Stop JavaScript when browsing the web to avoid cryptojacking malware from attacking your firm’s computers. Recall that deactivating JavaScript will also prevent you from using some of the functions you need when surfing.

Use Ad Blockers


Ad-blockers should be used since cryptojacking scripts are often placed in online advertising. To detect and stop malicious crypto mining scripts, use an ad-blocker.


Block Websites Suspected To Distribute Cryptojacking Scripts


To avoid cryptojacking while browsing websites, ensure each is on a well-reviewed whitelist. Plus, you can ban known cryptojacking sites. However, this may expose your device or network to new cryptojacking websites.

Final Thoughts


Use the tips and information above to get familiar with cryptojacking and what it means for you and your business. If your computer system has been hijacked by cryptojacking, it’s time to assess the quality of its protection.

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