Computer security expert Troy Mursch has discovered nearly 50,000 websites infected with a virus that produces Bitcoin using users' PCs
Cryptojacking is turning the Web upside down. What until a few months ago was little more than an easily manageable danger to users has now turned into a seven-headed monster, capable of rising from the ashes.
Cryptojacking is now a worldwide practice and is present on an increasing number of websites. According to cybersecurity researcher Troy Mursch, nearly 50,000 websites have been infected by hackers and are producing cryptocurrencies by exploiting the hardware power of users accessing the site. But what is cryptojacking? We slightly anticipated the definition in the previous sentence. Cryptojacking refers to the techniques used by hackers to exploit the unused computing power of processors, SoCs and graphics accelerators to mine cryptocurrencies. In simple words, the computers of users who log on to the website are used to create Bitcoin, Monero and the other cryptocurrencies.
How many sites are infected by cryptojacking
In his Bad Packets Report, cybersecurity researcher Troy Mursch claims that there are almost 50,000 websites that have been infected by cryptojacking. To be precise 48,953. To get such an accurate figure, the researcher used a search engine that allows you to find websites that use a particular HTML code. By entering the HTML code of the scripts used by the hackers to insert the cryptojacking programs into the websites, it was easy to find out which portals were infected.
The report shows that more than 80% of the infections occurred through CoinHive, the most popular program to produce cryptocurrencies by exploiting the computing power of other people's computers and smartphones. The other four cryptominers (programs to generate cryptocurrencies) used by hackers are Crypto-Loot, CoinImpo, Minr and deepMiner.
How to defend yourself against cryptojacking
In itself, cryptojacking is not dangerous for users' devices. No malware is installed and no software modifications are made. But it is still an (almost) illegal practice and one that can lead to devices overheating and battery damage. To defend your devices from cryptojacking you must first install an antivirus, even a free one. The latest updates have introduced defenses against this kind of techniques and when a cryptominer tries to exploit your computer's processor it is immediately blocked.