• Burton Kelso, The Technology Expert

Cryptojacking Can Ruin Your Devices: 5 Easy Ways to Keep You Safe



Just when you thought you had your devices protected from viruses, ransomware and cyber criminals, a new security threat is infecting computers, smartphones and tablets. It's called cryptojacking. If you've noticed your devices are running slower after surfing the web, you might be a victim. Left unchecked, cyptojacking can slow your devices down and cause them to overheat which can permanently ruin them. Even if you aren't familiar with the terms cryptocurrency or cryptojacking,  you should know about them. The value and popularity of cryptocurrency puts you at risk of being a victim of this new legal form of cyber attack which is affecting Apple, Android, Windows and Macintosh devices. Here’s what you need to know in order to defend yourself.

In case you didn't know, Cryptocurrency is digital money you can use to make secure and anonymous online payments that don't involve a bank. All your purchases and transfers are locked , stored, and recorded in a ledger known as a blockchain and all its data securely encrypted.

What is Cryptomining?

Cryptomining is a legitimate business where companies and individuals dedicate a large amount of computer power to mine. This is a process of computing and solving complicated mathematical problems in order to earn a Proof of Work, or PoW. Cryptomining serves two purposes. It updates the ledger and it releases more cryptocurrency on the web.

The current reward for mining a block is 12.5 Bitcoins is worth just under $140,000 which explains why many people are mining.

What is Cryptojacking?

Cryptojacking is the process of secretly hijacking a personal devices such as a computer, smartphone or tablet and using the resources of your device to mine for cryptocurrencies.  Mining uses an absolutely stunning amount of power which is why people are wanting to use your device to mine for cybercurrency. Serious miners who have racks of computers for mining, can consume as much electricity as a small city. Energy companies are cracking down on miners, which is making people resort to drawing that power from your devices.

Hackers used to have to install a virus on your computer if they wanted to cryptojack your device, but all that has changed because anti-virus software is better at detecting threats. Now it only takes someone embedding JavaScript code in a website which then uses the power of any device that visits that website. 

There are two ways in which cryptojacking is happening:

1. Hackers are hacking websites with heavy traffic 2. Online businesses are using cryptojacking tools

deliberately for funding.

Signs that your gadget has been cryptojacked Cryptojacking software processes run in the background without being detected but there are signs that your gadget is being used.  You might notice your internet connection is slow and your computer is running slow. Cryptomining uses your gadget's processing power, which means it consumes more energy so you'll notice a shorter battery life and it running warmer than usual. Cryptojacking can overwork computers and smartphones excessively to the point they can catch on fire and burn up.

How can you protect youself from Cryptojacking?

Unfortunately cryptomining is legal, but if you want to stop others from cryptojacking your devices do the following:

1. Use Chrome programs like minerBlock and No Coin which are handy browser extensions specifically designed to block popular crypto miners

2. Using JavaScript-blocking extensions like NoScript (for Firefox) or ScriptSafe (for Chrome)

3. Use antivirus that protects against cryptojacking by detecting all unsecure websites and blocking anything malicious, including cryptomining. 

4. Always make sure your desktop and laptop software have the latest updates to prevent against vulnerabilites which can be used to spread cryptomining attacks. 

5. Watch what apps you download from the Google Play store.  That fun little app could be a cryptojacker.

I'm Burton Kelso and I'm a Kansas City based Tech Expert and the Chief Technology Expert at Integral, providing on-site and remote support for computers, tablets, smartphones, routers, printers, and any device that connects to the internet. I regularly appear as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, Internet security and gadgets. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn , and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on my YouTube channel. I can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com


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