Last updated on December 3rd, 2019
The steady addition of a constant amount of new coins is analogous to gold miners expending resources to add gold to circulation. In our case, it is CPU time and electricity that is expended.– Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin/Blockchain Developer
Malware (malicious software) is a computer program designed to harm systems or networks by taking partial control of its operationality. Though it is incapable of damaging your physical hardware or network, malware can steal, encrypt, or delete its data at will. It can also alter or hijack core computer functions, as well as monitor computer activity without user knowledge or permission.
Over the past two fiscal years, there has been a 235% increase in cyberattacks against organizations of all sizes (business, education, healthcare, government) due to a shift from the use of traditional malware to cryptominers. More recently, cryptojacking has superseded the pre-2018 predominance of cyberattacks against individual (home) computers. The primary motivation for this shift in attack approach is financial. The transactional nature of cryptojackers makes it easier for cybercriminals to compromise entire organizations. This translates into higher ransom demands which, when met, may prevent full systemic shutdowns.
Though cybercriminals have eased off attacking home computers, they have redirected their attacks toward personal mobile devices via pre-installed malapps (malicious apps). After hijacking a device, cybercriminals can transmit paid messages and collect the revenue. Other malapps disperse adware that collects ad impressions and illegal downloads via forced redirects. However, with a bit of craftiness, you can catch and counter thes malapp attacks and more by:
- Downloading apps from reputable app stores only (App Store, Galaxy Store, Google Play)
- Carefully reading permissions requested by apps (to avoid data compromise)
- Checking for app logos that mimic well-known brands for legitimacy
- Installing a mobile security app from Malwarebytes or Symantec
- Routinely backing up sensitive and pertinent information
- Regularly updating your mobile device(s)