When you catch a cryptovirus on your computer, one of the first noticeable symptoms is the computer being slow. So why is that?
While there are multiple causes for this delay in system response time, one of the main reasons is due to something called “crypto mining”.
You’ve might have heard about something called “bitcoin” in the news. Bitcoin is an untraceable cryptocurrency used mostly by hackers, but is quickly becoming more mainstream. Although there are multiple ways to obtain bitcoin, serious cryptocurrency enthusiasts “mine” their own bitcoin by using computers to run bitcoin algorithms. Despite the extensive CPU resources required to run these algorithms, it’s often worth it with the price of one bitcoin being $6,535.70 as of July 7, 2018.
As a result, cryptocurrency miners need significant computer processing output to generate money. Some miners might use servers they own, but others turn to a more lucrative source; everyone else’s computers. And the more computers mining for bitcoin, the better.
How Crypto Viruses Are Born
A hacker will create a malicious computer program that will infect a computer, take over the CPU, and run cryptocurrency algorithms in the background.
The CPU (Central Processing Unit) is where the computer processes requests. Think of it as the brain of the computer. It’s just like when you have too much on your mind that you can’t handle another question from your 6-year old. Attention is divided.
When your computer has a virus, its attention is focused on the heavy burden of crypto mining. With only a couple lines of code, or delivered via browser, cybercriminals harness stolen processing power and cloud CPU usage to mine cryptocurrency. Coin mining slows devices and overheats batteries. For enterprises, coin miners put corporate networks at risk of shutdown and inflate cloud CPU usage, adding cost.
When it comes to computers with a virus, most people will only notice a huge increase in how long programs take to load, or just a general slowness. Meanwhile, that CPU bandwidth you could be utilizing, is going to the malicious software.
A swift cryptocurrency market triggered a gold rush for cybercriminals. Symantec released in their “2018 Internet Security Threat Report” that “detections of coin miners on endpoint computers increased by 8,500% in 2017”.
That’s where you come in.
The #1 best way to prevent malware is to have strong antivirus and anti-malware software with ransomware protection. It’s also a good idea to stay away from unsafe websites, website ads, and emails from people you don’t know. If you aren’t sure how to tell the differences between a “safe” website and an “unsafe” one, consider our Employee Cybersecurity Training or call 860-785-6233 to ask us about our favorite antivirus and malware software that we install and support for our clients at Encompass IT Solutions in Manchester, CT.