UK National Cyber Security Center Issues Warning On Cryptojacking

News | April 11, 2018 By:

The UK National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) has warned that cryptojacking will probably become a steady source of revenue for website owners and hackers.

Cryptojacking is a form of cyber attack in which a hacker hijacks a target’s processing power in order to mine cryptocurrency on the hacker’s behalf. It has become an increasingly popular way for bad actors to extract money from targets in the form of cryptocurrency.

In its latest cyber threat to UK businesses report,  the NCSC said that cyber-criminals are rapidly adding cryptojacking skills to their arsenal and creating a highly profitable new revenue stream from crypto mining.

“The technique of delivering cryptocurrency miners through malware has been used for several years, but it is likely in 2018-19 that one of the main threats will be a newer technique of mining cryptocurrency, which exploits visitors to a website,” the report said.

The report stated that in 2017, 55 percent of businesses worldwide were impacted by cryptocurrency miners and more than 4,000 websites secretly mined cryptocurrencies using a plugin for visually-impaired users.

“We assume the majority of cryptojacking is carried out by cyber criminals, but website owners have also targeted visitors to their website and used the processing power of visitors’ CPUs, without their knowledge or consent, to mine cryptocurrency for their own financial gain,” the NCSC said.

The NCSC advised users to use ad blockers and anti-virus programs which include browser mining blocks to prevent their computers from being hijacked.

Last month, Microsoft’s Windows Defender Antivirus blocked an attack of more than 400,000 attempts over a span of 12 hours for trojans to infect users with a cryptocurrency miner. The majority, or 73 percent, of these instances came from Russia, with 18 percent from Turkey and 4 percent from Ukraine.

In January of this year, Opera web browser added an anti-crypto mining feature to their mobile browser after including it in their integrated ad blocker for desktop. The feature will block all cryptocurrency mining scripts pushed by websites by default.