Free programs hide software to generate Bitcoin

Hackers hide inside some software, programs to mine cryptocurrencies by taking control of your computer

Cryptojacking, or the use of your computer by hackers to mine Bitcoin and other currencies, is becoming a common problem for thousands of users. Hackers have realized that the cryptocurrency market can generate very high profits even in a short time. And that's why they infect people's computers for cryptocurrency mining.

For those who don't know, mining is the way Bitcoins are "mined". In simpler words, it is the action of generating the cryptocurrencies that you buy on Exchange sites. To create Bitcoins and other currencies you need very powerful computers or alternatively a "pool" of interconnected devices. A very high initial investment that hackers logically do not want to make. And for this reason they have "invented" cryptojacking: to exploit the power of the users' computer to generate currency that ends up in their wallets. The latest cryptojacking alert was launched by Kaspersky, which found a particular version of the NiceHash mining program inside a "free" video editing program downloaded from the Internet. When the user completes the installation, in addition to the video editing software, he also installs the mining program on his computer. Without noticing anything. And from that moment, the computer is in the hands of hackers who use it for their own purposes. Here's how to defend yourself against cryptojacking.

Beware of free programs

Professional programs for photo editing and video editing can be quite expensive and not everyone can afford them. That's why many people try to find shortcuts that are not legal: downloading a pirated version of the program. You can find a lot of them online and it only takes a few minutes to find them. Kaspersky has discovered that these programs, besides being illegal, also hide a mining program: NiceHash. The cryptocurrency that the user generates with his computer does not end up in his personal wallet, but in the hacker's one.

The installation of the miner is done without the knowledge of the user who, unless he is very careful, can hardly notice the trick used by the hackers. As a matter of fact, nothing changes in the graphical interface of the PC: there is only a small icon added to the bottom right corner of the taskbar. Only a careful eye can notice it. The mining program does not create problems for the computer (it is not a virus) but it slows down its operation. The miner uses all the power of the computer to generate cryptocurrency, especially that of the video card. The user may notice slowdowns when using heavy software such as video editing or video games. Moreover, at the end of the month, your electricity bill will be very high, as miners consume a lot of power.

How to protect yourself against cryptojacking

Successfully defending yourself against these programs is not easy, as miners are not illegal software and are not as easily recognizable as viruses. To make sure you don't fall into the traps of hackers you need to purchase all the programs you want to use on your computer. Free" software is not only illegal but also dangerous for the security of your personal data. Besides, install a good antivirus, which defends against the attack of any computer virus. Finally, in case you have installed software downloaded from the Internet, enter the Control Panel to see if there are any programs that you have never installed. If so, delete them, they might be cryptocurrency mining software.