What is cryptojacking? How to prevent, detect, and recover from it

Cryptojacking is the unauthorized use of someone else’s computer to mine cryptocurrency. Hackers do this by either getting the victim to click on a malicious link in an email that loads crypto mining code on the computer, or by infecting a website or online ad with JavaScript code that auto-executes once loaded in the victim’s browser.

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Either way, the crypto mining code then works in the background as unsuspecting victims use their computers normally. The only sign they might notice is slower performance or lags in execution.

Why cryptojacking is on the rise

No one knows for certain how much cryptocurrency is mined through cryptojacking, but there’s no question that the practice is rampant. Browser-based cryptojacking is growing fast. Last November, Adguard reported a 31 percent growth rate for in-browser cryptojacking. Its research found 33,000 websites running crypto mining scripts. Adguard estimated that those site had a billion combined monthly visitors.

This February, Bad Packets Report found 34,474 sites running Coinhive, the most popular JavaScript miner that is also used for legitimate crypto mining activity. In July, Check Point Software Technologies reported that four of the top ten malware it has found are crypto miners, including the top two: Coinhive and Cryptoloot.

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