Cryptojacking: make sure your computer is not “hijacked”

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Compiled by Annalise Kempen
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

We are all very familiar with the concept of hijacking – both carjacking or truck-hijacking – where at least 20 923 carjackings and 1741 truck-hijackings occurred between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022 (SAPS, 2022). The question though is how many of our readers have heard about cryptojacking? It is a crime which people will, at first glance, associate with cryptocurrency and some form of theft/robbery, or the theft (hijacking) of cryptocurrencies.

What is cryptojacking?
INTERPOL (nd) explains cryptojacking as “a type of cybercrime where a criminal secretly uses a victim’s computing power to generate cryptocurrency”. This happens after a victim has unwittingly installed a program with malicious script or malware, which allows the cybercriminal to access their computer. Or through other Internet-connected devices such as after a user has clicked on an unknown link or attachment in an e-mail or by visiting an infected website. The criminals then use programs called “coin miners” to create or “mine” cryptocurrencies, with Monero being the type of cryptocurrency that is primarily mined on personal computers.

In 2020, INTERPOL identified a global cryptojacking campaign which was facilitated by the exploitation of a vulnerability in MicroTik routers. At that time, intelligence identified more than 20 000 hacked routers in the Southeast Asian region, accounting for 18% of infections globally (INTERPOL, 2020).


[This is only an extract of an article that is published in Servamus: November 2023. This article is available for purchase.]

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