The world of cryptocurrencies is a wide and often complicated one. There are various things to learn and try before you can actually step into it and start making some real money in the form of digital currency. By now, you have probably heard of cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, as well as mining as one of the ways of obtaining it.
Cryptocurrency mining today is not what it once was. While some 5 to 10 years ago one could mine cryptocurrencies using their own computer or laptop, modern mining requires dozens of high-end machines made specifically for mining working together as a network. Mining companies exist that dedicate hangars and immense facilities solely for storing their mining rig computers.
However, individuals can and do still mine cryptocurrencies, and despite the slow rates of generating income they are willing to work hard towards their goals. Despite their best efforts, others sometimes try to take advantage of their hard work and poke away or completely steal their progress. In this article, you will learn how best to detect and stop cryptojacking from your computer.
What is Cryptojacking Exactly?
Before we tell you how to properly stop it, we must first determine what it actually is. As the name suggests it, it is the act of hijacking the processing power of other people’s mining computers and using it to mine various digital currencies for yourself. This is a real thing that people do and it hurts the miners by stealing away their computing power and leaving them with huge electric bills.
Cryptojacking is typically done by using scripts that run on websites away, usually hidden away in the background. However, it is also possible to hijack computers themselves, as well as full servers. Hackers do this by installing malware software or by using rogue employees who physically do it for them right on the spot.
As one expert put it, cryptojacking is exactly the same as someone constantly taking your car and using it to work as an Uber driver without you even knowing it. They get paid behind your back by using your property as the tools of the trade without you even noticing, and all you are left with is an inexplicably huge gas bill.
The benefits of this are painfully obvious for the hackers since they mine cryptocurrencies without paying the astronomically high electric bills that always accompany this practice. Stealing processing power for mining started to become a problem in 2018 when more and more miners realized they are being taken advantage of. It surpassed ransomware and became usual practice for anyone dealing with online fraud and cybercrime. Some of the software cryptomining thieves sue can actually physically damage or completely break people’s computers since they do not care for their property once they have robbed them of power. So, is there anything that can be done? Fortunately, there is.
1. Monitor your CPU and GPU Usage for Abnormalities
The easiest and most basic thing you can do to check and perhaps even stop the hijacking of your computer is to frequently monitor the graphics card and processor usage. By doing this you can clearly see what kind of process on which app or online service is currently using your machine. Mining of the digital currencies uses quite a bit of the total processing power of any computer, so if your machine is slower than usual while you are not really doing anything, chances are that it could be mining for someone else’s gain. You can use some modern network monitoring tools by the default task manager options that are useful too. Simply navigate to the active processes and check what kind of process is using your power. If the CPU exceeds over the usual percentage, especially if it is over 90% with you not running anything, track the thing that is using it and force stop it. The same goes for your video card which should never be under a heavy load unless you have a video editing tool or a demanding video game ruining in the background. Make a habit out of checking your computer’s usage and you will be more protected than before.
2. Patch your Systems
This is always one of the most fundamental steps you can make when protecting something on your computer. This is something every computer owner should do regularly, but here it goes: always patch and update your software, especially if the patch notes mention security updates to the whole thing. Graphic cards receive new drivers almost once per month and should always have the latest one installed. All of your programs, applications, and different software have to be patched and updated whenever you see a notification if you want them to operate smoothly and be less prone to malfunction and hacking. Out of date and unsecured aspects of a computer are the easiest things to hack and the absolute favorite targets for perpetrators. If you own an expensive mining rig or a network of rigs that mine for you 24/7, you have to make security your number one priority and always patch and update your systems.
3. Block Attack Vectors