What if your computer system has uninvited guests that you don’t know about?
One of those “guests” may be a class of hackers who use system resources for cryptocurrency mining.
In this article, we discuss cryptojacking, the threats it poses to small businesses and how to prevent it.
What is Cryptojacking?
Cryptojacking is the hijacking of a computer by an attacker so its processing power can be used to mine cryptocurrencies.
Mining cryptocurrencies involve solving hashes which are a mathematical and complex system of equations. The chance of solving a hash increases with processing computer power.
Cryptojacking is a way for cybercriminals to convert your business’ computing resources to their monetary gain. Hackers use advanced malware or script to perform necessary calculations on the victim’s computer while they generate tokens and earn fees in the process. The criminals get crypto credits while the victims bear the mining costs including electricity and degradation of computer parts.
Many attacks come from web browsers or web pages while others rely on victims installing a malicious code into their system.
How Cryptojacking Affects Business
Cryptojacking can have negative consequences on your business. These include:
Reduced Productivity: If your business relies on IT services, the efficiency of your business will largely depend on how fast the software and applications on your system runs. Any event that slows down your computers effectively delay critical system activities. Since cryptojacking malware hog processing power, they end up slowing down your business and causing revenue loss.
Hardware Failure: Your computer undergoes gradual wear and tear as you use it. This is made worse by cryptojacking scripts which uses up any available CPU space. The more your computer processor is used the faster it degrades. If this continues for a long time, your system hardware may fail earlier than designed. Then, you have to spend money on replacements.
System Crash: Systems sometimes crash when overused. With crypto miners on a system, the processor usage will hover around 100 percent. This places performance burden on the system and causes OS crash. Some crypto jacking malware would seize admin control. If you attempt to uninstall such malware, the end result is total system crash and loss of data.
Loss of Customers: Modern internet users expect that a page load as fast as they click. Processor stealing cryptojacking malware make this impossible. If you are running a web-based business or you provide specialized software as a service(SaaS), your customers may not use your product. They could sign up with your competitors instead if your service response time is slow.
Next, we discuss the ways to detect and stop cryptojacking malwares.
How to Prevent, Detect and Stop Cryptojacking
Look out for cryptojacking activity: A computer can run slower over time. But a crypto jacking malware may also be the culprit. When your employees are aware of this threat through training, they are able to report any suspicious activity which can then be investigated further.
Set up Advanced Network Monitors: Because cryptojacking usually don’t change your system’s configuration, they can operate freely and remain undetected by regular malware scanners. Small business owners can install and configure advanced server filtering program to detect them before they cause a problem.
Install anti-Ad and Crypto blockers in your browsers: Many crypto mining malwares runs on browsers. By installing ad-blockers and crypto mining blockers such Adblock and Nocoin, you will safeguard your system from unauthorized usage.
Deploy Endpoint Protection: Advanced Endpoint protection (AEP) helps to protect businesses by focusing on the interconnected systems. Get an AEP installed for your system so threats such as cryptominers can be blocked.
Use Mobile Device Managers(MDM): Many businesses allow employees to use their personal devices for work purpose. Those devices have to be protected so they don’t become attack vectors. MDM helps users to manage apps and extension and help block malicious apps.
Block Infected Domains: Some domains are compromised and operated by hackers. When such domain are known, you should set up network rules to blacklist them on your network.
Now that you know what cryptojacking is, you need to act on the information in this article to protect your business from malicious mining. If you lack the resources to implement any of the detection or prevention tips above, you can hire the services of a Managed Service Provider. Please contact SDTEK to learn more about how our cyber security services can protect your business from cryptojacking.
Keeping your business safe requires that you update your knowledge, stay vigilant and be proactive with threats management.