Crypto-mining is complex, expensive, and resource-intensive; hence crypto miners find new ways to mine crypto with any available system. Due to the increase in value of these cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, criminals now use illegal mining to increase profits.
Cyber-criminals disseminate malware on a large scale to exploit internet-enabled devices and utilize their computing power to carry out illegal mining. These programs, when installed, initiate crypto mining without the computer users being aware.
The following practices will help protect you against illegal crypto mining.
Cybercriminals exploit the vulnerabilities present in obsolete applications and outdated operating systems. Vendors put software updates on their websites once they are available. Install these updates as soon as possible on all of your devices. Make sure to download these updates from the trusted vendor websites.
Attackers may use a link on an email address directing you to a website with malicious software disguised as updates. Take advantage of the automatic update feature present in software since it ensures you get genuine updates.
Apply updates from trusted networks like home and work and avoid updating from untrusted networks like hotels, airports, and coffee shops. Updates will enable your programs to keep up with all the latest threats so that they can detect and block them effectively.
Antivirus software scans your computer memory and storage, looking for patterns indicating any malicious code. An antivirus performs scans either automatically or manually. Automatic scans happen periodically on specific directories and files, with new virus information added frequently.
Manual scans require a request by the user and should be used to scan media and files from an outside source. These include web downloads, email attachments, CDs, and USBs. Many antiviruses offer real-time protection to scan data as it is being loaded and block any malicious content. Since illegal mining heavily relies on malware, antivirus software will offer the best security.
Crypto mining requires many resources; hence an affected machine is easy to identify. One should constantly monitor their system to check any above-normal CPU usage. The crypto mining farm network administrators monitor performance continuously to ensure optimal CPU output. High CPU utilization in a computer system might indicate illegal crypto mining.
The first thing to do is determine the programs and processes that are gobbling up your system resources. Using macOS Activity Monitor or Windows Task Manager will help to identify and terminate the culprit.
Cyber-criminals create websites that host files with embedded malicious code to enable illegal mining in the installed system. Always use a secure website that has encryption to protect your privacy.
Ensure a closed padlock icon on the browser indicates a secure connection and a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) beginning with HTTPS, not HTTP. Ensure that the website has a valid certificate indicating that a certificate authority has verified that website and its associated organization.
A browser may present a dialogue box indicating an error with the certificate if it senses a problem. Be cautious while visiting such websites and avoid providing any personal information. By making certain websites you visit have valid certificates and encrypt your information, you can protect yourself from attackers who use malicious sites to obtain information.
Any computer connected to an internet connection or Wi-Fi network is susceptible to an attack. A firewall shields your computer network from unnecessary or malicious network traffic and protects against cyber-attacks. Configure the firewall to block connections from specific applications, ports, and locations while allowing the necessary data to pass through.
A hardware firewall is a physical device placed between a computer and the internet to control the network activity passing through them. A software firewall is a built-in feature in many operating systems to control individual applications’ network behavior in the computer system.
A properly configured firewall will primarily protect you against malicious traffic and needs other protection measures to strengthen your resistance to cyber-attacks.
Threats to computer systems will continue evolving. Although it is impossible to eliminate every threat, using caution and proper security practices, you can reduce risk and protect your system from malicious code and illegal mining.