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Crypto-jacking: Digital currencies bring new form of cyber crimes

Friday, October 15, 2021 by Melita

Crypto-jacking: Digital currencies bring new form of cyber crimes

You have probably heard the word “bitcoin” flying around at some point, but like most people, you’re probably not quite sure how it works. Don’t worry, you’re certainly not alone to be confused. 

Whilst most of us understand that bitcoin is a form of digital or cryptocurrency that is not controlled by some central place like a bank, that’s pretty much what most of us get.

Now, while some people claim that cryptocurrencies are the best chance of becoming a billionaire, others argue that it could be your ultimate financial ruin. What’s for certain is that like other currencies, all cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, are volatile and subject to external factors. So, while you do not need to understand the technicalities of using cryptocurrencies, it’s wise to be aware of the cybercrimes related to them.

All about crypto-jacking 

Crypto-jacking is a relatively new phenomenon that surfaced around 2020. It occurs when someone makes use of your device without your permission to hijack bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies.

Anyone with a PC, a smartphone, or a server can fall victim to crypto-jacking. Most often, victims are unaware that their device is being used for such a crime because the technology uses very little of your system’s resources. This is what makes it almost impossible to detect, so much so that even major companies like Tesla have fallen victims to crypto-jacking. So yes, it can happen to the best of us.

How do you become a victim?

You can become a victim of crypto-jacking in three ways:

  1. By downloading an attachment that comes in an email 
  2. By clicking on a link from a source you don’t know
  3. By clicking on a pop-up ad whilst browsing online 

Here’s our Melita guide to protect yourself from crypto-jacking :

  • Stay alert!

If you notice that your device is heating up or has significantly slower reactions, speak to a professional immediately. You can also use your task manager to check whether there is any activity that you are unaware of.

  • Be Prepared!

Install malware software to regularly scan for possible harmful programmes on your device.

  • Code it out!

If you are a site owner, keep an eye out for any changes in your coding.

  • Don’t get carried away!

Avoid downloading too many browser extensions. Only download ones from verified sources, and only if you really need them. Occasionally, check your extension settings and clear up what you don’t need.

  • Play hard to get!

Do not click on any random web advert that pops up. Set your settings to block ads or use your browser in private mode.

  • Stay on top of things!

As digital currencies become more refined and popular, new waves of cybercrimes are likely to hit the internet. Keep updated – watch the news for new techniques and popular scams that you need to be aware of.