Digital Currency Growth Coincides with Cryptojacking Surge

As cryptocurrencies power ahead, so does cryptojacking as a means of mining.

The growth in digital currency values is happening alongside a rise in cryptojacking incidents, software provider Shasta QA claims.

Shasta noted in a press release that cryptocurrency prices - particularly of market leaders like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple, and Ethereum - have ballooned over the past few years, especially the last couple of months. This has prompted crypto miners to resort to shady means of mining, including cryptojacking.

Curiously, the steady rebound of Bitcoin comes as news spread on Tuesday about the latest crypto hacking incident. Cybercriminals breached MyEtherWallet’s system and stole at least 215 Ether valued at nearly $150,000 from some 180 transactions.

Rise in crypto cracking

According to Shasta, the rise in crypto jacking incidence was first noted in late 2017 with the spread of cryptocurrency mining scripts using the web browsers of unsuspecting users and CPU clock cycles to mine digital currencies.

It explained that crypto jacking involves infecting a web page with malicious JavaScript that uses the computing power of devices when their owners visit the compromised page. Cryptojacking could adversely affect the performance of the affected gadgets, not to mention spike electricity bills.

A report released early this month by Symantec found an 8,500% jump in coin mining software on systems, making crypto jacking the undisputed malware trend of last year. The Internet Security Threat Report stated:

“As malicious coin mining evolves, IoT [Internet of Things] devices will continue to be ripe targets for exploitation. With a low barrier of entry—only requiring a couple lines of code to operate—cyber criminals are using coin miners to steal computer processing power and cloud CPU sage from consumers and enterprises to mine cryptocurrency.”

In its latest report on the issue, Malwarebytes described crypto jacking as more profitable than traditional ransomware.

How to detect crypto mining script

According to Shasta QA, a website infected with malicious JavaScript is easier to detect than most people think. Some web browsers, like Firefox and Chrome extension, have add-ons such as AdGuard or No Coin to detect and block these types of crypto jacking scripts.