We will try to discuss this complex technical issue in laymen terms so that most of our non-technical readers can understand this and can protect themselves.
Recently we have learned a lot regarding Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies due to “investment purposes”. Some of you might already be aware of mining process for earning bitcoins but for others, it may be a rather new term. Cryptocurrency Mining is an activity through which you can earn bitcoins/cryptocurrencies by using your computer. These activities require high CPU usage and may damage the CPU/GPU permanently if your laptop/computer/mobile is not powerful enough for performing its power intense mining activities. Mining is a very good activity for earning bitcoin/cryptocurrencies if you don’t have enough capital to buy them. The only problem with mining is, it requires very costly setup for performing intense mathematical calculations and cost of running the system drains too much of electricity bill.
So what’s the deal? The problem is, Hackers now have found the way to infiltrate your computer system and mine bitcoins without you ever noticing it. And, obviously, if you can mine the coins for them why would they invest in buying costly systems for crypto-mining.
How hackers mine the bitcoins on your computer system?
The hackers place the mining script on their website or can even place on another victim website without being noticed by the website owner. Sometimes, even website owners themselves place it for getting some income. The only problem is, they won’t tell you about it and it runs in the background without your knowledge. This mining script runs automatically in the background when you visit the website. These scripts increase the CPU/GPU usage to 100% due to power intense processes which can heat up your system to the max. limit as well as might permanently damage your CPU. The hackers are also creating viruses which will mine the coins for them in case you are infected by them. These kinds of viruses are called “Mirus”. After successful mining, these scripts send the earned coins back to their hacker or master and he earns the coins while you pay with your computer life.
Where should you check for such mining scripts?
Usually, these scripts are placed on pirated websites, torrent websites or literally any website in case it is hacked to mine the coin. These scripts may even run after you leave the website which imposes heavy risks on the system.
How can you protect yourself?
These are few simple ways to protect yourself:
- Windows users have to use Good Antivirus as always. Mac users don’t have to smile here as even Mac users have to use the antivirus this time. Yes, you heard it right, even Mac users have to use the usual free antivirus. We recommend AVG Free for Mac.
- Install Ad Block Plus Plugin on your Chrome / Mozilla / Safari Browser.
- Install Mining Blocker Plugin on your Chrome / Mozilla Browser.
- No Coin for Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/no-coin-block-miners-on-t/gojamcfopckidlocpkbelmpjcgmbgjcl?hl=en
- Bitcoin Miner Blocker for Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/bitcoin-miner-blocker-no/fpjonkpcapodalpjgmbjmljiiblnpiij?hl=en
- Anti-Miner for Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/anti-miner-no-1-coin-mine/ibhpgkhoicjhklmbhdoeikeggbeejonj?hl=en
- No Coin for Mozilla: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/no-coin/
- No Miner for Mozilla: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/nominer-block-coin-miners/
- Install Malwarebytes in your Windows System: https://www.malwarebytes.com/ (Free Version is good but paid version is required for Real-Time protection.)
- After installing the Chrome/Mozilla plugins there is literally nothing you have to do for activating it. It is pre-activated and protects you from every malicious site.
How can you check whether you are protected from the infected site or not?
It is the first question that came to our mind when we installed the mining blockers. So we tested them against clean websites and affected websites and yes, we found the difference. On affected sites, a small exclamatory sign appears on the installed plugins while on clean sites, there is no exclamatory sign on these plugins. Let us see how:
- When we visited sarvotarzan.org, there was no mark on mining blocking plugins. Screenshot Enclosed.
- But when we visited the infected site: extratorrent.cd then the mining blocker plugins caught the mining scripts and an exclamatory mark started showing on them. Screenshot enclosed.
We hope that this article will help you in protecting yourself against Mining Exploits.
Stay Connected, Stay Intelligent!