The cryptocurrency revolution has spawned a whole wave of new terminology that can be really hard to keep up with. One of these is ‘cryptojacking’. Cryptojacking is a lot more common that you might realise, you could be getting cryptojacked every time you browse online without even noticing. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
What is cryptojacking
Let’s use a news site as an example. When a user logs on to the website and just browses the website owner doesn’t make a lot of money. Their income is usually produced by advertised content littering the web-page. Cryptojacking is a way for the website to make income in a different way. When a device opens a web-page it has to do some minor calculations to display the webpage to the user. During this process the website can make the user run some additional algorithms – specifically cryptocurrency mining – without the user ever knowing.
So the website gets some cryptocurrency from mining and nobody gets hurt?
Cryptojacking used responsibly
Ultimately a website that is using cryptojacking doesn’t want a user to know that they are being cryptojacked, so they keep the mining to a minimal so the user won’t notice. Now there is no real harm in doing this, but many users are still against this. It’s also important to note that on older devices, these small cryptojacking computations might still slow the the viewing experience.
Cryptojacking used maliciously
If a website chooses to, it can pump its loading data with these cryptocurrency mining algorithms. This can cause your device to seriously slow down, as a lot of your computing power is being used up by the web-page. Additionally, if you are running this on a mobile device, it can drain your data.
Another big problem with cryptojacking is that third-party hackers can use them on websites they don’t own. There have been many recent examples of this. Users report a slow browsing experience, the website owner looks into it only to find that their security has been compromised and a hacker has installed a cryptocurrency mining plugin. Again, if the mining code requires very low computations, the user’s browsing experience is not affected. However, this is still very illegal, and breaks many website regulation laws.
What you can do
In reality, you don’t really need to do much. Most everyday internet users will most likely never really notice the problem. If you want to take precautions for the more malicious cryptojacking, you can install an anti-cryptojacking plugin. Of course, if you run or manage a website, you should assess your vulnerability to cryptojacking plugins and take precautions towards them.
Read more about how the blockchain is changing the world at crypto101.com