Written by John Cole
Aren’t crimes of the future amazing? Every day, digital crooks find new ways to rip you off using techniques with names that leave you feeling like a background character in a William Gibson novel. The latest? Cryptojacking! And you may already be a victim without knowing it.
Cryptojacking is an unfortunate side-effect of the crypto-mining craze. Cryptominers need vast amounts of processing power (and the energy that makes it go) to create wealth from cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Monero. Not satisfied with the virtual cash they’re able to generate with their own hardware, these digital parasites have figured out how to get into your devices, too. Your laptop or phone may be making money for someone else, at the expense of your own IT needs.
That’s because a cryptojacked device will be ruthlessly exploited by the uncaring miner. You may notice your device has started overheating, or the battery suddenly runs out much quicker than it did before. You’ve not necessarily been hacked – but you should check before your batteries die or your processing chips melt.
You can protect yourself by adding a plug-in such as No Coin or minerBlock to the web browsers you use. You should also ensure your passwords, including your home Wi-Fi passwords, are difficult to crack. And install a secure home router so you’re protected before the signal even reaches your device.
Hackers also sneak onto your devices through phoney apps that you download thinking you’re getting something else. Always be vigilant when installing apps. Navigate to the official app providers such as Apple’s App Store, and Google Play on Android devices. Downloading directly from an unfamiliar website can be risky.
Crooks are always going to innovate as long as there’s new technology around. As consumers, unfortunately, some of the responsibility is on us to stay ahead of them. Try working through this new anti-cryptojacking resource to defend yourself against this latest, poetically-named threat.
John writes on behalf of NeoMam Studios. A digital nomad specializing in leadership, digital media, and personal growth topics, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in the UK, Norway, and the Balkans.