Cryptojacking 101: What it is and How to Protect Your Business

Although cryptojacking remains a threat to all businesses, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are most frequently targeted – with small businesses accounting for one-third of cryptomining traffic and med-sized accounting for one half. As a result, unsuspecting organizations can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in an attempt to restore operations.

As a small to mid-sized business owner, here’s what you need to know:

What is Cryptojacking? 

Experts define cryptojacking as the unauthorized use of someone else’s computer to mine cryptocurrency. Cybercriminals install miner programs on one or several devices with an aim to profit on cryptocurrency mining without incurring the costs associated with hardware or electricity (in short, it uses your machines and electricity to process cryptocurrency transactions).

How Does Cryptojacking Work? 

Cryptojacking typically occurs in one of two ways: phishing attacks and web browser miners. In the first instance, hackers will send unsuspecting employees an authentic-looking email encouraging them to click on a malicious link or downloadable attachment. From here, the cryptomining script is secretly loaded onto the victim’s computer.

Hand tattooing money and currency concept on naked clear skin

See: 5 Best Practices for Protecting Company Email

The second method involves the injection of the cryptomining script on a website or ad that appears on multiple sites. The script is then automatically executed, although in this case, no code is stored on the employee’s computer.

In both scenarios, the script runs off the target’s computer, sending results to the cybercriminal’s server.

Why SMBs? 

While larger corporations are also frequent targets for cryptojacking, SMBs are more susceptible due to restricted IT budgets and undertrained staff (in cybersecurity). Other factors that make SMBs more vulnerable include:

  • Break-fix approaches to security threats vs. a proactive, risk-based approach
  • Outdated network security solutions and IT policies
  • Inadequate IT personnel
  • Etc.

Signs You’ve Been Cryptojacked

Unlike ransomware and other forms of malware that tend to make themselves more evident, cryptojacking can be challenging to identify. Here’s what to watch out for:

  • Poor device performance (slower than usual, unexpected crashing etc.)
  • The device heats up or is louder than normal (i.e. fan is working harder)
  • Slow internet connection
  • High CPU usage, a quickly draining battery

Protecting Your SMB

In the case of cryptojacking, the best defence is a good offence. In addition to employing a preventative, risk-based approach to your SMB’s IT security needs, be sure to apply the following tactics:

  • Utilize IT security training and education for employees
  • Protect internal systems from outside threats with a VPN
  • Ensure software and systems are up to date at all times
  • Employ the use of ad-blocking software
  • Partner with a reputable managed IT services provider for affordable, round the clock protection

Take a proactive approach to protecting your SMB with the help of GAM Tech’s Risk Assessment. Or, learn more about our affordable, fully comprehensive managed IT services by booking your Free Consultation today. 



Posted by Adrian Ghira on Apr 17, 2020 9:17:24 AM

Topics: business, IT, SMB, cryptojacking

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