How to Protect Yourself from Hidden Mining

With crypto currency mining being such a lucrative area for everyone, it was inevitable that some shady people would try to exploit other people to gain unfair advantages in the industry. Hidden mining is a form of malicious hacking that has been on the rise over the course of the last two years.

What is hidden mining?

To put it simply, hidden mining refers to a situation when someone tries to install on your device an application that utilizes the computational power of your device to mine bitcoins. The sad part about it is that you don’t get your sweet share of coins earned using your device. Another obvious problem is that a user doesn’t even know that they are being exploited.

While the malicious app can be in a form of a virus, it is much safer and easier for hackers to use legitimate ways to install a mining script on your device. For example, the most notorious case of hidden mining was with Coinhive which was a simple JavaScript code injected in the web page. And forcing your device to participate in the mining operation without you even noticing. Website owner and script owner would split the earnings between them.

A legitimate application for a browser that can be installed on all prominent browsers such as Mozilla Firefox or Chrome can also carry a malicious code that will turn your device into a BTC mining machine. What is truly dangerous is that such hidden miners can negatively affect smart phones draining their batteries and significantly reducing performance. A user who is not technically savvy will soon discover that their device is slower and runs out of battery in a couple of hours after being fully charged.

On the other hand, devices that are infected with hidden mining software become even more vulnerable to other threats like viruses.

Protecting yourself from hidden mining techniques

First of all, you should check your device. Download and install a performance monitoring app on your smart device to check the CPU load. Do the same for your PC. If your device is constantly operating at over 80% load, your machine may be infected with malicious software. Use developer tools for Chrome and Firefox and view the source code of pages for keywords like Coinhive and Crypto-loot.

What else can you do?

  • Do not click suspicious links. There are pop-up windows and links leading to some weird websites as well as “shadow” browser tabs opening coincidentally with the one you intended to view. All of these should be considered threats and shut down immediately.
  • Install special apps like minerBlock or No-Coin for Chrome. Similar browser extensions exist for Firefox. These apps prevent webpages that run mining scripts from opening. Try to avoid installing suspicious applications and programs that you may not need to use in the first place.
  • Run antivirus software that can block JavaScript. There are specialized antivirus programs that are designed to target crypto currency mining scripts that will help you protect your devices from scammers.

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