- A new study has revealed that cryptojacking has made over $50 million in the last decade
- Many crypto-jackers have been found to work in pools
- Monero was the preferred currency for the criminals
One of the downsides of being an active member of the crypto community is the fact that you have to be on alert for the various scams and crimes that take place within the space. Besides SIM Swapping, the hacking of exchanges and impersonation, one of the shady practices that are taking root in the crypto community is cryptojacking.
Simply put, cryptojacking is the act of maliciously taking over someone else’s computer system and using it to mine cryptocurrency for yourself. While most of the community is already aware of it, a March 25, 2019 report exposes just how rampant the practice is.
More widespread than previously believed
The study that was reported on was conducted by Sergio Pastrana at the Charles III University of Madrid in Spain and Guillermo Suarez-Tangil at King’s College London and they estimate that up to $50 million has been made from these illicit activities in the last decade.
According to them, there are two primary methods that cryptojackers use. The first is the use of a malicious web page that hijacks the CPU power of the victim in order to mine cryptocurrency. Fortunately for crypto users, this operation can easily be shut down if detected by simply closing the webpage. It is also characterized by the CPU overheating and thus, is easier to detect.
The second method is, unfortunately, not as easy to detect as the malware is embedded in the code of programs that are designed to look and even act like legitimate software. Once they are installed into the computer, they may work under a number of conditions.
To avoid detection, some only function when the CPU is idle and some shut down automatically when the task manager is open. This second type of crypto-hacking is called binary-based malware.
Just like crypto miners often pool together to mine crypto, these criminals have also been found to work in pools. Based on 1 million examples of crypto-mining malware operating between 2007 and 2018, it was found that Monero was the most popular coin to mine, most likely due to the fact that it is an untraceable privacy coin.