BITCOINS AND CRYPTOJACKING
Many have heard of the term “virtual currency.” This is the cloud-based version of traditional paper money. For example, with ransomware, a cyber-attacker wants to be paid with this new type of currency, usually in the form of Bitcoin. There are other types of virtual currencies out there and collectively, these are known as Cryptocurrencies.
Earlier this year, cryptocurrencies were really popular, especially in the financial markets. Future contracts and indexes were created and heavily traded. For a period of time, their value skyrocketed, and people thought that this would be “the next big thing,” just like the .com craze back in the late 90’s.
Cryptomining & Cryptojacking Defined
As the .com craze faded out, so did cryptocurrencies. They are still being traded, but not with the volume and the market capitalization they once had. The cyber-attacker is entering into this realm, with a new threat called cryptojacking, which means mining the various cryptocurrencies for monetary value. Cryptocurrency mining and cryptojacking are described more in-depth below.
“Bitcoin mining is done by specialized computers. The role of miners is to secure the network and to process every Bitcoin transaction. Miners achieve this by solving a computational problem which allows them to chain together blocks of transactions (hence Bitcoin’s famous “blockchain”). For this service, miners are rewarded with newly-createdBitcoins and transaction fees.”
The Blockchain Explained
Let’s put these two long descriptions of cryptocurrency mining and cryptojacking into simpler terms. Like mentioned before, cryptocurrency is virtual. Because there is no way to actually track down this digital currency, it needs to be made secure on the Internet.
This is where the mining aspect of it comes intoplay. It is the job of miners to protect all of these currencies andtransactions by having the ability to solve very complex math problems.
Once the mining is done, all of these transactions then form a “block” which creates the line of defense to protect these virtual currencies and their associated transactions. In return for their services, these miners (which are legal entities), are paid a certain fee percentage.
In our next post, we will examine in detail how a cryptojacking attack is launched, and how it can impact a Cloud-based infrastructure.