How to spot and block cryptominers on your network


A friend recently traveled to Iceland and returned knowing that the country is a key hub for Bitcoin mining due to its cheap source of thermal power. Your computer or computers on your network could also be a great place for cryptomining. I know of people who were running cryptomining software on customer machines in violation of company practices.

Cryptomining is the process of creating units of cryptocurrency. Most popular cryptocurrencies are math problems that create units of currency. CPU cycles turn into money. This process is legal, but criminal cryptomining uses the power and CPU cycles of the machines they hijack to make money.

Cryptojacking occurs when a malicious actor hijacks systems through web servers and web browsers. Malicious JavaScript code is typically injected or implanted into web servers so that when users visit a web page, their browsers get infected, turning their computers into cryptominers.

Can you detect and protect yourself from this activity? Absoutely. Let’s start with the most passive ways to spot cryptominers on your network.

Monitor network performance

First, examine the performance of the systems on your network. End users may notice excessive CPU usage, temperature changes, or faster fan speeds and report them to IT. It can be a symptom of poorly coded commercial applications, but it can also indicate malware hidden on systems. Define the baselines of your systems to better spot anomalies in your systems.

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