The recent announcement by Google to introduce more stringent measures against cryptojacking has been greeted with enthusiasm by many internet users.
The concern has been such that individuals visiting sites may no longer be certain that their devices are not being exploited by some unknown hacker script to mine digital tokens.
Trend Micro, a cyber security company sometime released a report of its findings that indicated that cryptojacking, the art by which hackers use the processing power of web browsers discreetly to mine digital currencies is on the rise.
According to the study, cryptojacking has increased many folds from the incidents recorded this time last year.
The latest spike shows that hackers now prefer the activity to ransomeware attacks that were prevalent last year. The report also shows that Monero is the preferred crypto due to its privacy features that enable cyber criminals effectively hide their transactions.
The company is saying that between January and July, it detected the highest number of crypto mining activities utilizing these malicious scripts embedded on websites to exploit the processors of web browsers in mining Monero.
“Throughout the next few months, we also saw a noticeable shift away from highly visible ransomware to a more discreet detection: cryptocurrency mining. These damaging threats — from the miners that quietly leech power from victims’ devices to the dangerous vulnerabilities that leave machines open to covert attacks — split limited security resources and divide the focus of IT administrators,”
These activities can actually escape being noticed by network administrators or device owners. The most noticeable effect is spike in power usage and slowing down of the computers due to the extra power needed to mine the cryptocurrency.
Slow response time and overheating could lead to hardware failure adding significant costs to maintenance.
Since this year, there have been many reports of cryptojacking involving many websites such as news and entertainment site. Not even government websites have been spared in the new menace.
The boldness of hackers mining monero with device processing power is premised on the fact that monero is a privacy coin which they can easily cover their transaction trail using the many crypto blending services.
Information gathered by Cryptoinfowatch said that system administrators have been advised to look out for unusual patterns such as slowing systems, power spikes and unauthorized activities.
Another group of researchers from Germany’s Braunschweig University of Technology has reported that the average income from cryptojacking is not high, putting the figures at about $6 a day mining from the average site.
The release said,
“On average these websites attract 24,721 visitors per day and keep them for roughly 3 minutes on average. Overall, we thus observe a range of 0.17 to 89,000 core hours, with a mean of 1,550 core hours,”
wrote the researchers in a report titled “Web-based Cryptojacking in the Wild,” which was published this week.
“With a hash rate of 80 H/s and CoinHive’s payout ratio, a miner earns about 5.8 USD per day and website on average, which supports our observation that web-based cryptojacking currently provides only limited profit.”
If the profit is that limited, why is the venture attracting more hackers? The reason obviously is that all websites are not equal, the tops sites have far more visitors that if hackers could embed the mining scripts in them, they could make between $120 and $340 daily.
Although this sort of mining has legitimate uses such as a replacement for adverts on websites, the exploit of hackers is what many web users frown at.
Some genuine cloudmining services still exist that ethically mine monero and other coins with the permission of machine owners and still pay them.