Unfortunately, the success of cryptocurrency has attracted the attention not only of regular users of cyberspace but also of cybercriminals, who in recent years have devoted themselves to developing increasingly creative ways of obtaining these assets illegally. Currently, one of the most common methods they tend to use is illicit Crypto-mining, which, depending on how it acts, is capable of significantly damaging any system.
Considering this situation, the questions arise: Are my systems in imminent danger of being attacked? How can I keep my assets and systems protected? The answer is clear, of course, there are risks, and even more so considering that the main gateway for malicious elements are users. However, there is nothing to worry about. There are some measures you can take to avoid becoming a victim of illicit Crypto-mining. Read on and get to know them all.
First things first: What exactly is Crypto-mining?
Crypto-mining is nothing more than the mining of crypto coins, but what is meant by this? In this context, mining is a perfectly legal operation that consists of validating a transaction, carried out; for example, in bitcoins, encrypting the data and registering it in the Blockchain. The operators, individuals or companies that carry out this process are called “miners”.
In practice, miners use computer programs to solve a mathematical problem, which results in the validation of a transaction. They must use high computing power (processors, computers or graphics cards, etc.) to achieve their goal.
These data encryption and transaction logging operations in the Blockchain allow “miners” to receive rewards in bitcoins. But not without a high cost, because the amount of resources such as electricity and internet band, which requires crypto-mining makes the expenditure on services considerably high. This is one of the main reasons why some cybercriminals prefer to carry out illicit crypto-mining.
How does illicit crypto-mining work?
Crypto-mining was born as a legal activity. One more component of crypto-mining transactions that offers a benefit to the miners. However, thanks to the increased value of some cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, some cyberspace criminals have been motivated to use this activity for illicit enrichment. Thus tarnished, the reputation of this type of transaction.
The illicit crypto-mining is so lucrative that it has become the second most recurrent threat to cyberspace after Ransomware. In order to carry out their task and maximize their profits, cyber-criminals disseminate, on a large scale, malware aimed at exploiting the computing power of as many terminals as possible (PCs, mobiles, tablets, servers, etc.).
Once installed, these programs are responsible for initiating illegal mining without the main user of the computer being aware of it. Some methods used by attackers to infiltrate systems are the use of Telnet/SSH, SQL injection and virus installation via browsers and pirate links.
Obviously, the most powerful servers tend to be the most attractive, because they offer the most power to solve the mathematical operations required by crypto-mining.
How to protect systems from this threat?
There are different attack vectors that cybercriminals can use in their favor to infiltrate your systems. So in order to keep them truly protected; your company must have a security team willing to implement intelligent measures to protect your assets.
Some tips you can follow to armor yourself against illicit crypto-mining are the following:
#1 Keep your programs always up to date
Obsolete applications and operating systems are one of the main vulnerabilities that cybercriminals often exploit. So to keep your systems protected; it’s best to apply patches and updates on a continuous basis. This will allow your applications to keep up with the latest threats so that they can be detected early and blocked effectively.
#2 Take a multidimensional approach
Even if you update all your programs; there is still the possibility of some malicious element infiltrating. How? Through some unwary user. That’s why it’s important to maintain a strategy that encompasses all the elements that interact with your systems, including users and external applications.
Some methods you can apply are, for example; the creation of a blacklist of unauthorized websites or the installation of plug-ins that blocks these sites. Also, make sure that all members of the company are well-informed about the security measures you establish.
#3 Monitor the performance of your CPUs
Regardless of which method is used, crypto-mining will consume many resources. Therefore, the affected machines will be easy to identify. Try then to continuously monitor the performance of the CPUs of your systems.
#4 Use a specialized security application
Your security team can’t do everything on their own. So to improve their performance the best thing is to invest in a tool that can automate certain tasks such as the detection of unusual activities within the system. If you want a recommendation, Acunetix can be an excellent option. This specialized application in the detection of threats such as SQL injection can be the ideal ally in your fight against illicit crypto-mining.
Want to know more? Contact our team of GB Advisors professionals. We offer quality consulting and high technology tools so you can fully protect your systems, and carry out your projects more easily.