Crypto Miner Virus: How to Detect and Stop Cryptojacking Malware

Article Summary

  • Crypto Miner Virus: A type of malware that uses your computer’s resources to mine cryptocurrency without your consent or knowledge.
  • Cryptojacking: The practice of secretly installing crypto mining malware on someone else’s device, often through web browsers or host-based attacks.
  • How to Detect and Prevent Cryptojacking: You can use browser extensions, anti-malware software, ad blockers, and zero-day protection to protect your devices from cryptojacking.

What is Crypto Miner Virus?

Crypto miner virus is a sneaky little malware that hijacks your computer’s resources to mine cryptocurrency without your consent or even your knowledge. This underhand tactic, known as cryptojacking, is driven by a simple motive: money. 

Cryptocurrency mining can be a gold mine, but it’s costly. For someone strapped for resources but not for shady morals, cryptojacking becomes a cheap and effective way of mining valuable coins.

How does Cryptojacking Work?

Cryptomining is like an unwanted guest in your device, slowing it down and racking up your electricity bill in the process. It’s the key process behind generating new cryptocurrency – that digital currency you’ve heard so much about that’s created and encrypted on something called a blockchain.

Now, you might be wondering, “What’s a blockchain?” Well, it’s a record-keeping technology where transactions lead to complex mathematical puzzles. These puzzles must be solved for the transaction to go through. The people who solve these puzzles are cryptocurrency miners, and they’re rewarded with cryptocurrency for their efforts. The cryptomining process is the only way to create and encrypt new coins on the blockchain.

So, where does cryptojacking come in? Well, it uses your computer power to solve these complex mathematical operations needed to mine cryptocurrency. The results are then sent to the cryptojacker’s server.

Unlike other malware, cryptojacking isn’t usually about corrupting or stealing personal data. Its primary objective is to get its hands on your machine’s computing power. The longer the mining program runs, the more cryptocurrency the hackers can harvest. 

Are You a Victim of Bitcoin Miner?

Wondering how you become a victim of cryptojacking? Hackers have more than one trick up their sleeves to enslave your computer. Here are two common methods:

Web Browser-Based Attacks

This method involves a website or an online ad that delivers the cryptojacking malware to your computer. When you visit the website or click on the ad, the malware is automatically downloaded and installed on your computer. This type of attack is often referred to as “drive-by cryptojacking” because your computer is compromised just by visiting a website.

Above image shows a forum post from a wanna-be cryptojacker looking for ways to infect. You can see that he refers to making gullible people downloading the silent crypto-miner disguised as a movie file.

Host-Based Attacks

This approach involves installing the cryptojacking malware directly on your computer. It can be done in a variety of ways, like sending you a malicious email attachment, using a fake app or game that contains the malware, or compromising the supply chain of a legitimate software provider to insert the malware into the software.

Cryptojacking Attacks News and Statistics

Let’s dive into the world of cryptojacking and unmask the stats behind this rising cyber threat. According to Bleeping Computer, did you know that cryptojackers need to drain $53 worth of your system resources just to generate a mere buck in cryptocurrency? Yes, it’s a costly business, and unfortunately, you’re the one footing the bill.

Unpatched Vulnerabilities: A Gateway for Cryptojackers

Peeking into the third quarter of 2022, nearly one in six cases exploiting well-known vulnerabilities ended up with a miner infection. That’s right, your unpatched operating system might just be the “Welcome” mat cryptojackers are looking for. 

Cryptojacking Hotspots

Guess where cryptojackers had a field day? Ethiopia, a country where cryptocurrencies are officially banned, topped the charts with the highest number of attacked users. Quite ironic, isn’t it?

Meet the Cryptojackers’ Favorite: Monero

Of all the cryptocurrencies, Monero (XMR) seems to have a special place in the hearts of cryptojackers. This digital currency is their top choice for malicious mining. 

From Ransomware to Cryptojacking: The AstraLocker Story

AstraLocker, once a prominent ransomware operator, decided to hang up its ransomware boots to join the cryptojacking game. While ransomware can generate big bucks, not every attack results in a payout. Miners? They just infect, sit back, and enjoy a steady stream of profit.

Cryptojacking in Action: Real-Life Examples

1. The Coinhive Saga

Coinhive started with a noble intention. They allowed website owners to add a JavaScript code that would use visitor’s computer power to mine Monero, creating an advertising-free revenue stream. But, alas, it was too tempting for attackers who turned it into a cryptojacking tool. The party ended in March 2019 when Coinhive shut down due to declining user interest and increased regulatory scrutiny.

Post-Coinhive, cryptojacking attacks have evolved to be more covert and sophisticated, targeting APIs, open-source code, and even cloud infrastructures, according to ENISA.

2. The FaceXWorm Scare

Remember the old “click this YouTube link” trick? FaceXWorm used this bait to lure unsuspecting Facebook Messenger users. Users ended up on a fake site, downloaded a Chrome extension to view content, and voila— their Facebook account got hijacked, unleashing the FaceXWorm malware that started mining cryptocurrency.

3. The Black-T Menace

Last but not least, there’s Black-T, a cryptojacking malware variant by TeamTNT. They had a special appetite for AWS (Amazon Web Services) credentials on compromised systems and mined Monero. Their favorite hunting grounds? APIs with exposed Docker daemons and vulnerable systems ripe for cryptojacking attacks.

How to Detect Crypto Miner Malware

Manually removing threats may be a time-consuming and difficult task that needs expert-level computer knowledge. So, we recommend professional antivirus program like TotalAV which can detect and remove all traces of virus infection. It can finish the task for you in just one click.

Discovering a crypto miner virus lurking in your system can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. These cunning critters hide in plain sight, masquerading as legitimate processes, and causing your CPU usage to skyrocket. But fret not, let’s get our detective hats on and delve into how we can spot these digital parasites.

The JavaScript Blockade

An initial line of defense could be to block JavaScript in your web browser. This method can disrupt drive-by cryptojacking, but it’s a bit like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut – it might also prevent you from accessing functions you frequently use. So, let’s explore some subtler tactics.

Anti-Crypto Mining Browser Extensions

Consider installing browser extens ions like “No Coin” or “Miner Block”. These handy tools play goalie to potential mining activities, keeping your browsing experience smooth and safe. But, let me put a bug in your ear: why not think bigger?

Rather than adopting a single-purpose solution, why not opt for a comprehensive cybersecurity program? One such example is TotalAV. It’s like having a Swiss army knife in your security toolbox, offering protection from not just cryptojacking, but also malware, ransomware, and numerous other online threats.

Preventing Cryptojacking: Your Armor and Shield

Now, let’s pivot to some preventative measures we can take against cryptojacking.

1. Update, Update, Update: Keep your computers and web browsers current. Software updates often include security patches that can shield you from new malware versions. It’s like staying ahead in an arms race.

2. Anti-Malware Software: Equip your devices with reputable anti-malware software. Regularly updating this software can act as your digital immune system, fending off malware and other threats.

3. Ad Blockers: Those annoying online ads or popups aren’t just a nuisance; they can be a vehicle for drive-by cryptojacking attacks. A reputable ad blocker can serve as a virtual bouncer, keeping these unwanted guests out.

4. Zero-Day Protection: This is like having your personal bodyguard, ready to defend against new and unprecedented threats.

FAQs: Your Crypto Queries Answered

You might have some burning questions about cryptojacking. Let’s get them answered.

Is cryptojacking illegal?

Absolutely. Cryptojacking is not just illegal, but ethically dubious, as it exploits someone else’s resources without consent.

When did cryptojacking start?

The practice kicked off in September 2017, with the launch of a website called Coinhive. This site published code that enabled cryptominers to mine the cryptocurrency, Monero.

What’s the difference between crypto malware and ransomware?

Ransomware attacks demand payment directly from the victim’s device. Crypto malware, on the other hand, operates more subtly, hoping to remain undetected and continue mining cryptocurrency using the victim’s device.

How common is cryptojacking?

More common than you might think. SonicWall Capture Labs reported a record high of 139.3 million attacks by the end of 2022.

By taking the above steps, you can arm yourself against the crypto miner virus and keep your devices secure. Remember, the best defense is a good offense, so stay vigilant and proactive. So, are you ready to give TotalAV a whirl? It might just be the comprehensive cybersecurity solution you’ve been looking for.