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David Drake

January 10, 2018 Article

Does Cryptojacking Pose a Serious Threat to the Growth of Cryptocurrency Market?

Over the last couple of weeks, cryptojacking has become more pronounced in the cryptocurrency space. As 2017 came to a close, a discovery was made with regard to an extension on Google’s browser which was mining Monero cryptocurrency without the knowledge or permission of users. Malware creators and website owners who keep users in the dark apply the technique of earning digital coins using user CPU power.

Sebastien Denis, the Project Manager and FinTech Markets Expert at (DID), notes the serious security threat that cryptojacking poses for players in the coin market.

He says, “Software that mine cryptocurrencies without asking the users permission and slow down computers present a serious security risk. As this problem persists and grows with the resurgence of cryptocurrencies, large internet players will be expected to come up with a plan of action to prevent it from happening in their browsers.”

The Chrome extension called Archive Poster had over 100,000 users. Over the last couple of weeks, Archive Poster has been using an in-browser digital currency miner without giving users any notification or requesting their permission. Just last week, another malware that utilizes Python scripting language to mine Monera cryptocurrency was detected on Linux machines.

The CEO of
Connectius, Vasily Kozlov, highlights the potential challenges malware could pose. He says, “Access to mining of the Monero cryptocurrency with the CryptoNight algorithm by means of CPU makes it susceptible to the use of malware. Thanks to CPU mining, in all likelihood these viruses could spread to practically any computer. Additionally, evolution has trained these applications to go into sleep mode when the computer is being actively used and makes their activity almost invisible to the average user. We recommend treating messages from unknown senders with caution, and monitor the privacy of your social network accounts.”

According to Daniel Nam,
NPER‘s CEO, the surging cryptocurrency prices could be driving people into cryptojacking.

“Incessant rising price of cryptocurrencies could allure more people for Cryptojacking. We should be aware of this fact since the crypto market cap still has a long way to go,” Nam says.

In September 2017, creators of a Chrome extension called SafeBrowse embedded JavaScript in the code in order to mine Monero cryptos using other people’s computers without their knowledge. Cryptojacking increases CPU usage, making computers slow and difficult to use. Acknowledging the need to find tech solutions to this problem, Eugene Teplitsky, co-founder and CTO of WishKnish, thinks there are ways this practice can be leveraged constructively.

“Hijacking a user’s browser for mining cryptocurrency is the Trojan horse of 2018, and technological steps need to be taken to resist unwanted cryptojacking. But this innovative practice should not be stamped out entirely. Just like pop-ups, overlays, and other ad technologies, it can be used ethically to support a site or application, and meaningful steps need to be taken to educate both developers and consumers of the risks and possibilities of transparent opt-in mining without resorting to fear-mongering,” Teplitsky says.

Disclaimer: David Drake is on the advisory board for most of the firms mentioned or quoted in this article.

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