Cryptocurrencies are becoming an increasingly important part of today’s world, with more and more people choosing to invest in the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. Even major payment platforms like PayPal have enabled cryptocurrency transactions, and we’re starting to see more sites and retailers accepting these digital currencies as payment methods too.
Unfortunately, as the value of cryptocurrencies rises, their appeal to hackers and cyber-criminals also intensifies, and in recent years, we’ve seen a lot of hackers starting to develop new ways to steal cryptocurrencies from others or even trick people into mining cryptocurrencies for them, without even realizing it.
The process is known as cryptojacking, and the technique behind it is actually quite simple: hackers find a way to get some kind of code or software running on your device, in the background, in order to utilize your own processing power for the mining of cryptocurrencies. It’s a scary prospect, and here are a few ways in which it can happen.
Updates matter, but too many people see them as something trivial or inconvenient, delaying them again and again and always clicking the ‘remind me later’ button when an update notification appears because they’d rather not be disturbed and have to wait around for a few minutes for an update to download and install.
However, the fact of the matter is that updates are often released to address holes or security weaknesses in your operating system or browser software, and if you don’t have the latest and greatest versions, you could be putting yourself at serious risk of cryptojacking and other cyber-attacks that could put you in danger.
Phishing attacks are one of the oldest forms of cyber-crime, and even though many people know exactly how phishing works, the method is still proving to be highly effective, with huge numbers of victims every single year, and hackers are finding even more inventive and original ways to trick people with their phishing attempts.
For those who are unaware, phishing is when, for example, you receive an email that seems to be from a legitimate source, like your bank or internet service provider, asking you to download a file or click on a link and enter your personal information. Secretly, the whole thing is fake and you’ll be giving your details to a hacker, so you have to be really careful with which links you click on and what information you enter online.
Visiting Unsecured Sites
One of the simplest ways in which you can fall victim to cryptojacking is by visiting or spending any kind of time on unsecured sites. This is cyber-security 101, but a lot of people forget the importance of checking that the sites they visit have HTTPS addresses and lock icons in the address bar. It’s vital that you follow these simple steps on every site you visit.
In this day and age, hackers have found all kinds of ways of masking their phony sites to look like the real thing, and it’s often the case that people make a slight typing error when entering the URL they want to visit when looking for something like professional writing services, end up on a fake site, and then download files or input information that can be used against them.
Relying on Free or Basic Anti-Virus Protection
There are some things in life you can get for free or a low cost, like cheap coursework, but there are other products and services you need to be willing to pay a little extra for, and antivirus or anti-malware protection is one of them, especially in today’s world, where tens of millions of cyber-attacks happen every single day and countless new forms of malware are released all the time.
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that free or basic malware protection is all they need to get by, but the reality is that the most basic programs don’t offer much in the way of protection against advanced cryptojacking attempts. If you choose to invest in a more fully-featured security suite, you’ll have far more protection overall.
Another top tip to always keep in mind if you want to stay safe online and avoid falling victim to cyprojacking attempts and other cyber-attacks is to make sure that your passwords are always secure and complex. Again, this is one of the simplest fundamentals of cyber-security, but it’s still vital to remember.
Too many people make the mistake of using the most basic of passwords, assuming that they won’t be targeted by cyber-criminals. However, hackers can target absolutely anyone, and they even have programs that can automatically test countless basic passwords to try and break into your accounts and devices, as explained in papers and coursework here.
Bio: Jessica Chapman is a professional writing services expert and editor from Chicago. She writes articles and content on a range of subjects, from politics to sport, and also offers a personal statement writing service.