Cryptojacking – A Beginner’s Explanation

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Cryptojacking – A Beginner’s Explanation

Have you ever felt like your device was abnormally overheating or slowing down more than usual?

Hackers could be secretly using your device to mine cryptocurrencies by using scripts to steal your computer processing power and cloud CPU usage. A computer script is a list of commands that are executed by a certain program or scripting engine. Scripts may be used to automate processes on a local computer or to generate Web pages on the Web.

This is called cryptojacking.

So if you feel like you have been left with overheating batteries and a slow or even unusable device, it could mean that the hackers are using all the processing power on your device to mine or ‘jack’ cryptocurrencies.



Cryptojacking attacks increased by 8500% in just a couple years with 40% occurring via wifi connection. Cryptojacking can be a nuisance to anyone who’s the victim of it. Among the concerns a victim will face are:

  • Experience a slowdown in performance and productivity
  • Overheated or completely unusable devices
  • Increases in monetary costs due to higher electricity usage
  • Faster device turnover
  • Increases in the CPU usage base cloud costs.



There are two types of cryptojacking attacks; file based and browser based.

File based cryptojacking

File based attacks enter a network such as a corporate network like any other malware. Many of these attacks are self-propagating, spreading through the network and causing huge clean-up costs. They may also drop additional malware on internal systems as they propagate.


Browser based cryptojacking

Browser based cryptojacking on the other hand does not need to get into your network. That means if you have employees who visit websites on company-owned devices, you could be at risk.



In the scenario of a typical browser based cryptojacking, the hacker firstly identifies a vulnerable website and hides malicious cryptojacking code on the site unbeknownst to its owner.

Meanwhile here comes along an Internet user who may simply be logging onto the site for news. Because of the malicious cryptojacking code, this user is now the processing power for the hacker to mine for digital currency.

As long as the user’s web browser is open, the attacker benefits from it. Harnessing the user’s machine, the attacker performs the computation needed to update blockchain and release new currency.

The mined currency is deposited into the wallet of the attacker while the cost of mining, electricity, and computer wear and tear become the problem of the victim to solve.



There are a number of reasons cybercriminals have started turning to cryptojacking, aside from the obvious influence of the values in which cryptocurrencies hold.

  • Firstly, criminals want to make money easily and efficiently. Cryptojacking attacks can be very low effort. Since it only requires a simple script, browser based cryptojacking does not require the same level of skills than more traditional threats.
  • Secondly, because resources are stolen instead of data, many organisations have been slow to understand the risks associated with cryptojacking.
  • Finally, cryptojacking is especially stealthy. Victims may notice their computers performing more slowly, or their electricity bills rising. But many victims would not make the connection to cryptojacking.


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