Analysis of Browser-Based Crypto Jacking

The practice of crypto-jacking refers to the act of using a user’s computer against their will or without their knowledge in order to mine bitcoins through the usage of websites.
One significant piece of software that was used for crypto-jacking was called Coinhive. Before its suspension in March 2019, Coinhive was utilised in over two-thirds of all crypto jacks. The most frequently mined cryptocurrencies are privacy coins, which are coins with obscured transaction histories. Examples of privacy coins are Zcash and Monero.
Crypto-jacking malware is another linked concept; malware known as crypto-jacking infects computers and then secretly uses them to mine cryptocurrencies like bitcoin or Ethereum.

Crypto Jacking

Typically, users are unaware that this is happening. An emerging threat on the Internet known as crypto-jacking, also known as malicious cryptocurrency mining, infiltrates a computer or mobile device, where it stays hidden, and then uses those devices’ resources in order to “mine” different kinds of virtual currencies, which are collectively referred to as cryptocurrencies. 

It is a growing danger that can take control of web browsers and compromise any and all types of electronic devices, including desktop computers and laptops, mobile phones, and even servers that are part of a network.
The goal, like with the vast majority of deceptive assaults on the computing public, is to steal money; nevertheless, in contrast to other dangers, this one is intended to remain totally undetected by the user. Malware that steals cryptocurrency can cause a burden on a system’s processing resources, which can result in system slowdowns and even crashes.

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Table of Contents

How Does Crypto Jacking Work?

The practice of crypto-jacking is a sort of unlawful cryptocurrency mining.

To put it another way, cryptocurrency mining is the process by which new cryptocurrencies are created. Cryptocurrencies are a form of digital currency that is generated and encrypted using a technology known as the blockchain.

Transactions on a blockchain produce difficult mathematical riddles that must be solved before the transaction can be authenticated and finished. Miners are the individuals who solve the encrypted riddles, validate the transactions, and earn bitcoin as a reward for their efforts. Miners are referred to as “mining.” The production of new currencies and their subsequent encryption on the blockchain can only be done through the process of crypto mining.

The victim’s computer is hijacked and used to execute the difficult mathematical calculations required to mine bitcoin. The results of these calculations are then sent to the server that the crypto jacker controls. In contrast to other forms of malware, such as those that corrupt the data or equipment of its victims, crypto-jacking is programmed to steal the resources of its victims for as long as possible without being discovered.

Crypto jackers target a high number of victims despite the fact that they only employ a small portion of the processing power available to each victim. The software is designed to function in the background, undetected, discreetly shifting the processing resources of victims into illegal crypto mining jobs.

Web browser and host-based attacks are the two primary vectors that crypto jackers exploit. Web browser assaults involve the placement of crypto mining software on a website, with the software being activated whenever a victim accesses that website. Malware is typically downloaded onto a victim’s device in order to carry out host-based attacks.

Both approaches to the assault consist of the following stages:

Script Preparation

Script

A miner will develop a crypto mining script that will infect a website or device in order to mine cryptocurrency.

Infection Caused By a Script

When a victim clicks on a link that leads to the download of crypto mining software without their knowledge, either the website they are visiting is compromised or the victim’s device is compromised.

Attack

Following the execution of the crypto-mining script, the victim’s computational resources are utilized in order to run crypto-mining software. The amount of electricity transferred from the victim’s device to the illegal mining operation is under the cybercriminal’s control.

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Types of Crypto Jacking

Browser Crypto Jacking

The browser-based solution involves the generation of material that, when a user navigates to a website that is hosting that content, causes the user’s web browser to begin running crypto mining software immediately.

The term “drive-by crypto mining” refers to this technique as well. For the aim of crypto-jacking, crypto jackers can either establish a website with embedded crypto-mining JavaScript code and route traffic to it or hijack an existing website.

Host Crypto Jacking

This approach functions in the same way as traditional phishing and malware campaigns do.

Crypto jackers use deceptively innocent-looking links to trick victims into clicking on them so they can install cryptocurrency mining software on their devices. All different kinds of devices are susceptible to host-based crypto-jacking attacks. For instance, Google Android smartphones are vulnerable to attacks from crypto-jacking Trojan horses via applications downloaded from the Google Play Store.

Cryptocurrency in use

Malware that engages in crypto-jacking is capable of infecting open source code as well as public application programming interfaces. This allows the malware to spread to devices that download the code or API as well as any software that is produced utilizing them. Cloud storage that is not safeguarded is likewise susceptible to crypto-jacking attacks.

Once the crypto-jacking software is successfully installed on a victim’s endpoint, it is able to spread to other devices on the network, including servers, cloud infrastructures, and software supply chains. A lot of crypto-jacking scripts also feature worming capabilities, which allow them to detect other crypto-jacking malware currently running on a victim’s system, disable it, and replace it with new copies of themselves.

Key Takeaways!

Administrators of security should utilize powerful antimalware and cybersecurity software that was developed to detect the existence of dangerous code, such as software used for crypto mining. In addition to this, they need to make sure that their companies use the most recent versions of web browsers, operating systems, and cybersecurity software.

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