On October 29, students, faculty, and staff received an email from NJIT’s Information, Services & Technology (IST) Service Desk with the subject line, “What is Cryptojacking? How to prevent, detect, and recover from it”. In this email, IST described what cryptocurrency is, what cryptojacking is, how it occurs, and how to prevent it, detect it and recover from it.
Cryptojacking is when a person’s electronic devices, such as a phone or a laptop, is used without their permission to mine cryptocurrency, a process in which transactions are verified and added to the public ledger (blockchain). This mining of cryptocurrency can generate profit for the attacker, while usually doing little damage to the victim’s devices. In most cases, the tools used for cryptojacking will just slow the device down and drain the device’s battery.
Incidences of cryptojacking have jumped significantly in the last year, as indicated by an article on Coindesk.com, which reported a 400% increase in reports of cryptojacking. This increase is due to the relative ease for sites to set up ads to mine cryptocurrency, as well as the simplicity of hiding malicious code in downloads for innocent applications which run in the background.
It is important to understand that there are a variety of ways to prevent these attacks. A good rule of thumb is to only download files from trusted sites. Unfamiliar or unfriendly sites can lead to the download hidden code, among other things. Updating software is also a powerful tool against these attacks, since outdated software is likely to have more bugs and possible openings for cryptojackers to place malicious software.
NJIT is dedicated to keeping its students safe, not only physically, but technologically. If you have any questions regarding cryptojacking, your cyber security, or if you think you might be a victim of Cyberjacking, contact NJIT’s IST Service Desk at 973-596-2900 or https://servicedesk.njit.edu.