Cryptojacking is not a new problem, but it is a billion dollar industry that continues to evolve and can victimize both computer and smartphone users.
Simply put, cryptojacking occurs when a scammer uses malicious code to access a user’s processor and uses it to mine cryptocurrency. As a result, the device will likely run more slowly and go through its battery quickly.
According to Wilson Pennington, the senior technician at Lyons Computers in Birmingham, most victims do not even realize they are victims because cryptojacking runs in the background, is hard to diagnose and the scammers try to stay out of a device’s memory to avoid detection.
Pennington is also a certified ethical hacker and recommends having trusted anti-virus or anti-malware software and staying up-to-date on all software updates and patches.
“Without the patches, it’s kind of like your internet is a dirty river and you are in a boat,” Pennington said. “Without the patches, stuff is coming in through those holes. So you’ve got to have the patches in order to protect yourself.”
Since cryptojacking is hard to diagnose, the Federal Trade Commission recommends checking your device for performance hogs and closing whatever websites or apps that slow your device down or suck up too much energy.
The FTC recently issued a warning about cryptojacking and took the developer behind the “Prized” app to court over claims the app was just a front for cryptojacking operations.
For more information on cryptojacking and for instructions on how to file a report if you’re a victim, you can visit the FTC’s website.