Cryptojacking is a cybercrime involving the unauthorized use of another person’s or organization’s computing resources to mine cryptocurrency. Hackers infiltrate computers, smartphones, tablets, or even entire servers, embedding malware that clandestinely harnesses the device’s power to perform complex computations necessary for mining cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Monero.
This illicit mining process prioritizes over the device’s legitimate activities, often resulting in slowed performance due to the substantial computing power and electricity it requires. The cryptocurrency mined is deposited into the hacker’s wallet, while the victim bears the costs of mining, including electricity and potential damage to their devices.
Notably, cryptojacking is distinct from legitimate cryptomining as it operates without the knowledge or consent of the device owner. It’s motivated by the financial gains of mining cryptocurrency without incurring the associated overheads of mining hardware and electricity expenses. Cryptojacking incidents can target individual consumers, large institutions, and even critical industrial control systems, making it a pervasive threat in the digital world. The decline or rise of cryptojacking incidents often correlates with the fluctuating values of cryptocurrencies and the effectiveness of law enforcement crackdowns on such cybercrimes.