What is Cryptojacking | Tips to Protect Cryptojacking

Business

Has Your Cloud Been Cryptojacked?

cryptojacked

Nick Reddin

Published September 29, 2022

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If you aren’t familiar with cryptojacking you are not alone. Most people aren’t, and that is one of the reasons it is thriving. The hackers behind it are doing everything they can to keep it hidden so that it doesn’t become a major focus of a company’s security efforts.

What is Cryptojacking?

Cryptojacking is just what it sounds like. It is a hacker hijacking your cloud instance and using its power to mine cryptocurrency. The most popular cryptocurrency that is being mined through this form of hacking is Monero.

According to recent reports, Cryptojacking attacks have risen by 30% in the first half of 2022, making it a significant threat to companies worldwide.

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For organizations who have migrated to the cloud or thinking of moving to the cloud, cryptojacking is a serious issue that needs proper understanding.

Who is a Target for Cryptojacking?

The biggest targets for cryptojacking are data centers and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platforms due to the amount of processing power that can be tapped into. The typical way that these hackers gain access is through phishing campaigns or infected websites with JavaScript that auto-executes in the victim’s browser. The hackers then seek to operate undetected for as long as possible by varying their timing and usage of the compromised systems. Their goal is to stay in as long as possible with their code running in the background mining away for them. This form of hacking can net these hackers millions in cryptocurrency.

While you may think this type of attack is only happening to smaller, less secure, or ill-equipped resourced companies, you would be wrong. It is happening to companies of all sizes and some that may surprise you, including Tesla, CapitalOne, and British insurer Aviva. The only slowdown seen in cryptojacking has been due to the fluctuating prices of cryptocurrencies. Despite that, crypto mining is still replacing ransomware as the biggest threat out there.

How to Check for Cryptojacking?

To protect your company from cryptojacking, you should understand how to identify the indicators first. While most attacks are designed to be as undetectable as possible, you can still watch out for common indicators. Let’s discuss them briefly:

  1. Performance Glitches: One of the most common effects of cryptojacking is decreased performance. If your devices are slowing down or you notice unexpected glitches and crashes, you should inform your security team for intervention. Fast battery drain is also an indicator. 
  2. Increase in CPU Usage: If you notice your CPU usage has increased significantly over the past few days, it is critical to note that there may be cryptojacking scripts running. You can check your CPU usage on your computer's activity monitor and run a test to confirm if there is any malware running. 
  3. Look for changes to your files: For a cryptojacking attack to be successful, hackers need to use a website that helps them embed crypto mining code. Regularly monitoring your website and server files can save your systems from being compromised by malicious malware. 
  4. Overheated device: Cryptojacking can be resource-intensive. It can impact the device’s processing capacity, causing it to be overheated. If your CPU units or other devices are getting overheated, it is time to run a test. 

How Do You Protect Yourself from the Invasion?

So the natural question is how can you lock down your environment and protect your organization from allowing this to happen? Here are some tips to help you prevent cryptojacking attacks:

  1. Train Your Employees And Make Strong Internal Policies

 One of the biggest points of entry for all security breaches is the employees. Constant security and awareness training is needed to help keep employees up to date on all types of threats and reduce their potential impact. Along with that, some governance around multi-factor authentication and usage of strong passwords are recommended. Remedial strategies go very far in protecting your cloud.
Ensure that your IT team understands how to detect the early signs of an attack and take the necessary steps to prevent it. 

  1. Ensure That You Have Installed Advanced Security Tools 

From the technology side, you need to ensure that patches and updates are installed quickly and that there is a Service Level Agreement (SLA) put around this to ensure it’s monitored and done. Also, deploying cloud-based Advanced Threat Detection (ATP) can root out current issues and defend against coming malware threats. Blocking all mining sites and using ad blocker software will also help with network monitoring.

  1. Tighten Your Internal Policies

Paying attention to outside threats is important, but there needs to be the same level of vigilance for potential internal threats.

By now most have heard the story of Paige Thompson, a former Amazon engineer who was indicted on multiple counts of wire fraud and computer fraud. It's alleged that she not only stole data but also mined cryptocurrency after infiltrating the cloud servers of CapitalOne and 30 other companies. Internal policies need to be as strong as external ones with proper governance and accountability built in.

  1. Use Anti-Cryptojacking Browser Extension

The simplest and easiest hack to prevent cryptojacking is to install browser extensions. Some of the most popular extensions available online are minerBlock and NoMiner. These extensions stop miners from using your computer resources, block malicious scripts, and help you remove corrupt files. Many hackers also use ads to get to your system. So you can also install ad blockers to keep your system secure. 

If you need help with your cloud migration or initial implementation, ATC can help.

Secure Cloud with Our Experienced Professionals Today!

Knowing which step to take in your cloud transformation journey can be overwhelming.  You need expert help to navigate the tricky process and reap the rewards. At ATC, we have a team of cloud professionals who can help you to secure and maintain all of your data and put proper governance in place to protect it. We also offer cloud optimization services to make sure your cloud instance was properly set up and is being properly utilized to get the benefits, flexibility, and savings that the cloud offers.

Interested in becoming a certified SAFe practitioner?

Interested in becoming a SAFe certified? ATC’s SAFe certification and training programs will give you an edge in the job market while putting you in a great position to drive SAFe transformation within your organization.

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