As cryptocurrency continues to gain popularity, cybercriminals are finding new ways to profit from it. One of the latest tactics used is to covertly hijack other people’s computers or devices to generate digital currencies. This process, known as “cryptojacking”, is becoming increasingly common.

In this article, we will explore what cryptojacking is and how it works, what the impact is, common warning signs, and what you can do to prevent your device from becoming a tool for cybercriminals, as outlined by INTERPOL.


What is cryptojacking and how does it occur?

Cryptojacking is a type of cybercrime where a malicious actor illicitly uses someone else’s computing resources to generate cryptocurrency.

This typically occurs when the victim unintentionally installs a program that contains harmful scripts, allowing the hacker to access their computer or device. This can occur when the victim clicks on an unknown link in an email or visits a contaminated website.

The perpetrator uses programs called “coin miners” to create or “mine” cryptocurrency, since digital currencies solely require computer programs and computing power. The most commonly mined cryptocurrency on personal computers is Monero.


What is the impact?

While cryptojacking may initially appear to be a harmless crime since it doesn’t involve the theft or manipulation of the victim’s personal data, it is still cause for concern as the activity is done without the victim’s consent or knowledge, to financially benefit the cybercriminal.

As more and more devices become infected, the amount of cryptocurrency generated increases, making cryptojacking a lucrative criminal activity.

The primary impact of cryptojacking is on the performance of the victim’s computer or device, but it can also lead to increased costs for both individuals and businesses, as coin mining requires high levels of electricity and computing power.


How can I tell if I am the victim of cryptojacking?

INTERPOL lists common signs to look out for which could indicate that you have been a victim of cryptojacking:

  • A noticeable slowdown in device performance.
  • Overheating of batteries on devices.
  • Devices shutting down due to lack of available processing power.
  • Reduction in productivity of your device or router.
  • Unexpected increases in electricity costs.


Prevention tips

INTERPOL also provides a number of tips to prevent cryptojacking:

  • Continuously monitor resources on your computer (processing speed, power usage).
  • Use browser extensions that are designed to block coin mining.
  • Use more privacy-focused ad blockers.
  • Install the latest software updates and patches for your operating system and all applications – especially those concerning web browsers.
  • Block pages that are known to deliver cryptojacking scripts.


Key takeaways

Cryptojacking is a growing threat. While the primary impact of this crime is on the performance of the victim’s computer or device, it can also lead to increased costs for individuals and businesses. To prevent becoming a victim of cryptojacking, it is essential to take measures such as continuously monitoring device resources, using browser extensions that block coin mining, and regularly installing software updates and patches.

Nyman Gibson Miralis provides expert advice and representation in cases involving cybercrimes.

Contact us if you require assistance.