What Is Cryptojacking?

  • What is cryptojacking? Cryptojacking is the unlawful use of a device to mine cryptocurrency. The act of forcing someone’s device to mine cryptocurrency doesn’t need to be that tech savvy. Many cryptojacking issues result from the code residing on a website, once users land on the website, the script goes to work, tricking the user’s device to begin mining cryptocurrency!

    Many cryptojacking scripts aim to use fractions of user’s resources in order not to be discovered. Since a noticeable slowing of device ability would be a tip off as to malicious activity. Coinhive was a popular malicious service used to cryptojack unsuspecting users, and certainly wasn’t the only services used, but the most popular. Coinhive announced it’s abrupt termination of the script on March 8th 2019. The scripts used often is javascript, so using javascript blocking extensions is one level of defense.

    How Cryptojacking Affects SEO

    Cryptojacking mainly affects SEO by harming user trust and brand perception, it has been used before as negative SEO while adding to the attackers wallets at the sametime. As users don’t know if it’s because the website was hacked or because the website is just being malicious. In any rate it harms user trust which will result in less web traffic and more back button clicks. Sending signals to Google and other search engines that the search result was not helpful for their search.

    As a result there is a good chance the decrease in web traffic will result in keyword ranking loss. If this hasn’t happened already due to Google placing a huge red warning screen stating that the website might of been hacked. Akin to having a health code violation and being forced to place a big letter F on the storefront, a hacked warning sign message is about the same result, no customers.

    How To Identify And Prevent Cryptojacking

    One of the tale tale signs of cryptojacking is an increase CPU cooling fan usage. If you hear your cooling fan revving up faster than normal for longer periods of time, there could be cause for alarm. 3rd party browser extensions can help prevent the use of javascript and even just the mining code itself, research into extensions like PrivacyBadger, Adblocker, MinerBlock, NoCoin, could prove useful.

    As with any malware prevention opening email attachments and clicking on links in emails should always be done with caution. Install antivirus software you trust or that has been rated highly by trusted sources. And with the weakest link of any technology security chain being the human element, teach coworkers and employees about these phishing and cryptojacking techniques.