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What is Cryptojacking, and How Can Businesses Prevent and Respond to it?

Ever since cryptocurrency took off last year, many businesses have been subject to the threat of Cryptojacking and many have fallen victim to this threat. 

Cryptojacking is where a hacker will secretly use someone’s computer or electronic device to mine digital currencies. This can occur through the hacker sending a link to the victim via email that when clicked will load crypto mining code onto that device. 

However, cryptojackers are finding new ways and now are most popularly infecting adverts on popular websites or the actual website itself. These codes then work in the background whilst victims carry on using their device without any knowledge except experiencing a slightly slower performance.

According to a report by the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) ‘The Cyber Threat to UK Business’ it states that “up to 55% of businesses globally are already affected by these types of attacks, and this figure is set to only rise as attackers exploit new techniques” and that “cryptojacking will likely become a regular source of revenue for website owners.”

The effect that Cryptojacking has on businesses is extremely damaging, especially for businesses who rely on mass levels of technology, with victims including YouTube, Tesla and even governmental websites. As the hackers often display fake antivirus software, this can result in highly sensitive information being at risk. Therefore it is crucial that all businesses are aware of this hacking and understands how they can prevent it and respond to it effectively. 

A crucial first step for any businesses wanting a process in place for preventing and responding to this threat is to incorporate cryptojacking into security training for employees. This will help your employees have a better understanding of the threat and how it works so that they will be more wary of sites and ads that they visit or any suspicious email links that are sent. 

Ben Williams, Director of Operations at Adblock Plus, says that “The NCSC recommends using an adblocker, or anti-virus programme with the capacity to block bowser mining as the best way to prevent this. Adblockers offer a cost-effective solution to businesses as they are free and compatible with all the major web browsers”.

When it comes to responding to a cryptojacking attack, the first response needs to be to kill and block the website and browser tab that is running the JavaScript attack. When you have identified what website was the one responsible for the hack, then you need to make sure that the website is blocked completely internally throughout the business through web filters to ensure that there is no possibility of it hitting the company again. 

Another way to respond to a cryptojacking attack is to ensure that any extensions the business uses on browsers are updated frequently and of course updated immediately if the business is aware that an attack has occurred through this platform. 

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