Great. Some new kind of hack attack, right? It is relatively new, first coming to light in 2017, and while it’s not a ’victimless’ crime, it happens all the time and you may not even notice it if it’s happening to you. Let’s start at the top:

What is Cyber Cryptojacking?

Simply put, cryptojacking is the act of stealing computing power. The crypto miners hack into your system to use your computing power to mine cryptocurrency, like Bitcoins. It is quickly becoming one of the most common forms of malicious intrusion, but one of the least known. The road to success for the cryptojacker is stealth – the longer you are unaware of the intrusion, the more they can mine.

Unlike Ransomware, it does not encrypt your business data, keeping it from you until you pay a ransom in cryptocurrency for a decryption key. It flies under the radar, and unless the thief is too reckless and commandeers too much of your power, you may never notice it.

Perhaps you have heard of the now defunct SETI@home project run by the Berkeley SETI Research Center, wherein they used the internet to borrow consenting volunteers’ computing power to analyze radio signals harvested by radio telescopes pointed at the cosmos in the search for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.

Cryptojacking is similar in that it uses the computing power it steals to authenticate the millions and millions of global financial transactions that go into the earning of cryptocurrency. The big difference is that It is not voluntary, it is theft.

While the entire scope of cryptojacking is on the rise, so is the targeting of business networks. Why grab piecemeal consumers with one, maybe two computers when you can hack into a Small to Midsize Business (SMB) and steal the power from dozens of computers?

In truth, many garden variety IT service ‘guys’ will most likely not notice the intrusion because the scripts used in the practice bypass traditional Anti-Virus (AV) and other Cybersecurity threat scanning software. Since it does not ‘attack’ in the usual sense, it can go unnoticed – especially by ‘Break & Fix’ (B&F) hourly-pay hired IT support amateurs.

How do you know if you have cryptojacking?

For a consumer, it can simply be a general sluggishness of response from the computer. It’s possible that a home-user may notice that the computer seems hotter than usual, but more so on a laptop than a home desktop because on a laptop, when you type your hands are closer in contact with the overheating CPU (Central Processing Unit) that Cryptojacking uses to perform the functions.

Within the IT Support Los Angeles Community, there are tons of low-level Break & Fix IT services firms – that wait for something to break and then come out and fix it IT consulting services at that level concern themselves with ‘one-off’ issues, not the ongoing health of the network the way a Managed Services Provider does. It takes a 24/7 ‘hands-on’ proactive Managed IT Services firm that is extremely familiar with the way your network performs to spot the anomalies in the behaviors. As usage is analyzed on a regular basis, the IT HelpDesk technicians can easily see that a network is working harder than usual – with no corresponding rise in user activity. Any qualified IT support and services worker knows that any anomalies must be examined, because even if it’s not a problem now, the good IT support technician knows that it may well become an issue if left unchecked.

Here at IT Support LA, we have never had a successful cryptojacking of any of our clients, but since the ‘Hackers vs. Cybersecurity’ contest is like an ongoing game of ‘Whack-A-Mole’, we stay ever-vigilant for unusual network activity events – which can happen for a number of reasons, and can indicate different types of attacks. Even if it isn’t a cryptojacking or an attempted breach, it means something, especially if it’s coupled with a decrease in network performance.

Is crypto mining illegal in the US?

While Cryptojacking is illegal, Crypto mining is legal according to the federal government, but states and municipalities may have laws of their own. Here in California, it is perfectly legal. Consumers may sign up with legitimate crypto mining concerns to allow access to their computing power in exchange for a small ‘cut’ of the proceeds – just don’t quit your day job thinking that your new Dell is going to start paying your bills – but it may buy you dinner.

What are the security issues of Cryptojacking?

While on the surface it would seem that there is little danger to your system beyond slower performance (which is enough of a problem) or overheating, any qualified IT support expert will tell you that any unwelcome intrusion in your system must be dealt with. Once inside, the hackers may choose to execute more malicious malware. When Cryptojacking started taking off, many purveyors of Ransomware migrated to this less ostentatious and risky way of making an illicit and illegal buck. As the trends in cyber crime change, so does the hackers’ modus operandi. The future will most likely provide more lucrative opportunities, and with the crooks’ presence in your computer or network, they are the coiled snake ready to strike.

Varonis, a company that specializes in software for Cybersecurity, lays out an in-depth examination of Cryptojacking HERE.

Is Bitcoin mining profitable in 2021?

Yes, but mining Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies can be a very complicated undertaking. To start, you need mining hardware - the average price of a single mining device tends to run from around $2k up to $8k and higher, depending on the desired ‘hashrate’ – the measure of a miner’s computational power.

But before you buy a miner online, an examination of your capital outlay compared to your Return on Investment (ROI) and ‘break-even’ point. HERE is a handy article on the ins and outs of mining. Aside from the cost of the mining machine, expect your energy bill to go through the roof, as these machines eat up a ton of power – and they run so hot that may well have to install a special cooling system.

BUT: At least you don’t have to buy a shovel and a hat with a light on it.

If you suspect that your network has been Cryptojacked, and you have at least 10 computers and 1 server, IT Support LA offers a FREE Security and Network Assessment – no strings, no obligation, Just fill out the form on this page or call us at: