Fighting Against Crypto Mining Malware

Christopher Lentz | June 05, 2018 06:15 PM

Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies seem to be all the rage these days. It is no wonder that this craze has lured malware into this space as a means of making money for the attackers. The security industry as dubbed this as crypto-jacking, which is a fairly fitting name as the attackers essentially commandier your hardware (both CPUs and GPUs) for their mining. While the effects of a crypto-jacking might not immediately catch your eye, loss of productivity as a result of over-utilized computer resources can give some clue that there may be something fishy going on.

How You Get Jacked

Each day the number of websites that install crypto-mining malware onto your machine increases. This does not happen with a pop-up window or any notification that something has happened at all. It is so stealthy that most network security vendors are having a hard time even identifying devices that have been infected. Some use JavaScript and others something else entirely. There is almost no rhyme or reason to the patterns that the crypto-malware is performing. Many security experts say that this is on purpose so that the software is harder to detect and thus harder to remove.

What To Look For

One glaring thing that you might notice is that your PC fan may be running at a higher than normal speed as the crypto-mining software has been designed to utilize both CPU and GPU to maximize their returns. Which leads to the other way you can detect the malware, constant hardware monitoring and logging can show the increase in their usage over time. Some security firms are even going as far as using Machine Learning/AI to dynamically learn which devices are infected and automate security rules to block their communications. 

How To Defend Yourself

We recommend install browser plug-ins like No Coin or Antiminer as a minimal step to keep away the bad guys pushing crypto-malware out to the public. If you have some extra cash lying around, you can invest in security products like Traps from Palo Alto Networks or other similar endpoint protection suites that offer crypto-mining protections.

Whichever direction you decide to go, stopping this threat will only get harder as more and more hackers/malware writers get involved in this lucrative venture. Staying on top of the latest security threats is just one way to better protect your network and your valuable data.


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