Crypto-jacking: A hidden cost for your company


Johannesburg, 08 Mar 2019
Read time 3min 30sec

After gaining momentum in mid-2017, we have seen a worldwide boom of digital crypto-currencies like Bitcoin. Crypto-currencies have become synonymous with Ransomware attacks, but now cyber criminals have discovered another way to make money, mining crypto-currencies.

Crypto-mining is no easy feat, requiring immense computing power to be successful. This is due in part to blockchain technology that is the cornerstone of crypto-currencies' impenetrable defence and anonymity, using complex algorithms to create and authenticate the currency.

The kind of computing power hackers need to solve these algorithms and successfully mine crypto-currencies is the equivalent of that of large technology companies. To gather that much power, cyber criminals are using malware to hack into devices and use them to trawl the Web, consuming their resources to mine crypto-currencies.

To shed more light on this new threat, Panda Security compiled the report: Cryptojacking: A Hidden Cost.

ITWeb Security Summit 2019

Now in its 14th year, ITWeb Security Summit brings together leading international and local experts, analysts and end-users to unpack the latest threats facing African CISOs, CIOs, security specialists and risk officers. Register before 8 March to take advantage of the early bird discount. To find out more, click here.

"Crypto-jacking is an easy way to make money, and doing it is really cheap. Crypto-jacking kits can be bought on the dark Web for around $30. The attacker can install it on 100 machines, for example, and all of them will constantly contribute money by generating crypto-currency with little risk," says Josu Franco, Technology and Strategy Consultant at Panda Security. "What's more, we're seeing a significant increase in legitimate Web sites infected with CoinHive, a JavaScript that means that it isn't even necessary to install mining software; it simply runs as long as the user is active on that page," continues Franco.

Cyber criminals can use a number of attack methods to get into your device virtually unnoticed, including infected Web sites, unpatched vulnerabilities, phishing and unsecured IOT devices.

How will you know if your device has been compromised?

One of the first indications of crypto-jacking malware infection is unusually high electricity consumption. Users should also take note of a serious slowdown of the device.

How can you protect against crypto-jacking?

"The kinds of advanced cyber threats we face today have the potential to cripple organisations. To combat these threats, business leaders need to develop a comprehensive cyber-security strategy that includes next-generation EDR (endpoint detection and response) technology to provide visibility and control of the network, as well as developing policies and procedures that govern user behaviour," says Jeremy Matthews, Regional Manager at Panda Security Africa.

The experts at PandaLabs, Panda Security's malware research facility, shared the following tips for protecting against crypto-jacking:

* Carry out periodical risk evaluations to identify vulnerabilities;
* Analyse resources to make sure there is no unusual activity;
* Thoroughly investigating any spikes in IT problems related to unusual CPU performance;
* Careful with your browser. If you suspect that crypto-jacking is getting in via Web sites, install plugins to block these sites on your browser.
* Regularly update all the company's devices and systems.

Find out more in the report A Hidden Cost, or visit the Panda Security Web site for more about our next-generations solutions.

Matthews will speak at the ITWeb Security Summit, in May, sharing his insights into how EDR technology can be used to protect organisations against advanced threats, the different approaches to EDR, and how to decide which approach is best for your organisation.

The ITWeb Security Summit is southern Africa's definitive conference and expo for information security, IT and business professionals. This year, over 70 expert speakers will deliver key insights across seven tracks, including workshops and training courses during the expanded five-day event. The ITWeb Security Summit will be staged at Vodacom World, Midrand, from 22-23 May; and CTICC Cape Town on 29 May. Focused and interactive workshops as well as in-depth training courses will be run in the days around the main conference and exhibition.

For more information, go to www.securitysummit.co.za.

For information on Security Summit Cape Town, go to http://v2.itweb.co.za/event/itweb/security-summit-ct-2018/

Editorial contacts
Beatrice Kampmann 08600 72 632 (PANDA) Beatrice.Kampmann@za.pandasecurity.com
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