The rise in Cryptocurrencies popularity and its association with “get rich quick” schemes has inspired people to find new and interesting ways to mine from its blockchain. A method that has been used recently is called Cryptojacking – A way of using visitors of websites CPU’s to remotely mine cryptocurrency.
There are two ways a computer’s CPU can be hijacked to mine currency, through malware installed on your computer, or by going on websites with crypto mining scripts embedded in the web page. Cryptocurrencies are generated by having your processors calculate complex algorithms, these algorithms will reward user’s currency when they are completed.
Cryptojacking is a very inefficient method of mining cryptocurrency, only generating a few hundred hashes while a user is mining. But when it is used on a popular website with thousands of active users, the few hundred hashes each individual user creates can add up to a large amount, netting a huge profit at no cost of the creator. This method can be intrusive to an end user and will force the computer’s CPU to work a lot harder, slowing down the PC of the users.
A cryptojacking site will run a script that is embedded in the site code which takes advantage of the user’s CPU to mine cryptocurrency. Some websites can silently mine small amounts of cryptocurrency, others can use this to aggressively mine cryptocurrency on unsuspecting users. Cryptojacking is not a form of stealing as the users aren’t losing anything other than their computers resources to temporarily turn their computer into a cryptominer.
This method of mining is incredibly inefficient when compared to GPU mining, however a popular torrent website ran a test on cryptojacking for 3 days on their main website to see how much money they could generate. This website made around $12,000 in these 3 days making it a viable alternative to adverts displayed on the site. This can be a positive to cryptojacking, as most of the adverts displayed on this torrent site would have been viruses or other harmful malware.
Cryptojacking malware is more aggressive than a script on a website. This is because it can access a broader range of mining methods when it is not run out of a browser as well as being able to run 24/7 without the users’ knowledge. This method is easy to detect on a computer, and it can be done by looking at the task manager and seeing if there is any excessive CPU or GPU usage.