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How #hackers can #hijack your #computer to make free #money

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

How hackers can hijack your computer to make free money

If you experienced a sudden drop of performance when visiting Politifact on Friday, it was most likely because the popular fact-checking website was fast busy taxing your computer’s resources to make money—and no, you’re not getting a cut.

Hackers allegedly compromised the website and inflicted it with a cryptocurrency-mining script, a program that uses visitors’ CPU power to generate Monero, a digital currency like Bitcoin that professes anonymity.

The same script appeared on Showtime’s website late last month, though it was quickly removed after news broke on Twitter and several tech publications. Showtime never made it clear whether the script was added intentionally or was the result of their website being compromised. Pirate Bay intentionally experimented with the script but later removed it due to negative visitor feedback.

These are just a few of the increasing number of cases where the resources of computers like yours or mine have been hijacked to generate digital money without their owners’ consent. With the prices of cryptocurrencies steadily rising, plenty of people—including malicious hackers—are on the lookout to pad their wallets.

What is cryptocurrency mining?

While you can always buy cryptocurrencies on online exchanges, an alternative way to obtain them is to “mine” them, which will cost nothing if others are doing it for you.

Cryptocurrencies run on blockchain technology, a distributed ledger that exists on thousands of computers at the same time and obviates the need for middlemen and brokers such as banks and financial institutions. Records are stored on the ledger in blocks and are linked together through cryptographic equations, hence the name.

Before a new block is added to the blockchain, it has to be validated and verified through solving complicated mathematical problems. The process, called mining, requires a lot of computing power and ensures that no one can compromise the integrity of the system.

Anyone can become a miner by installing mining software and joining the network. The first miner to solve the equation gets to append the new block to the blockchain and be rewarded in cryptocurrencies and transaction fees.

Mining bitcoins requires huge amounts of computing power and requires specialized hardware available in large data centers. On the other hand, Monero, which was launched in 2014, can be mined with ordinary CPUs. Hackers can easily get involved by assembling a mining botnet, a network of computers infected with malware that enables cybercriminals to control them from afar.

How hackers are mining cryptocurrencies

Coinhive, the script used on the Showtime and Pirate Bay sites, was developed by a namesake company earlier this year and was introduced as “a viable alternative to intrusive and annoying ads that litter so many websites today.” It was also meant to address the rise of ad-blockers, which are hurting the bottom line of websites that rely on ads. The hosting website takes 70 percent of the proceeds and the rest goes to Coinhive. (The user naturally gets nothing.)

Given the inconspicuous way the script works, it has become a favorite money-making tool for hackers. In the past weeks, the script has popped up in numerous Google Chrome extensions and hacked WordPress and Magento websites.

Coinhive has expressed disappointment in the shady use of its tools and has promised to alter the script to obtain visitors’ consent before using their CPU for mining in the future. Meanwhile, several ad-blockers have added support to block Coinhive’s script.

However, Coinhive is not the only tool hackers are using to mine cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency mining malware and schemes have been around for several years. But the past months have seen a spike in mining activity, largely due to the rising price of cryptocurrencies.

Slovakian cybersecurity vendor ESET recently discovered a malware that exploits unpatched vulnerabilities in Windows Server 2003 machines to mine tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of Monero every month.

Kaspersky Labs reported that cryptocurrency-mining malware has targeted more than 1.65 million computers in the first eight months of 2017, an uptick compared to previous years. IBM’s X-Force security team has found a sixfold increase in cryptocurrency-mining attacks aimed at enterprise networks.

How to protect yourself against cryptocurrency miners

While cryptocurrency miners won’t steal your data or encrypt your files like other malware, they are annoying nonetheless and can negatively impact the performance of your computer. Here are several ways you can prevent hackers from lining their pockets with your CPU:

Install an antivirus and keep it up to date: Most antivirus solutions detect and removing cryptocurrency mining tools as harmful software.

Install an ad-blocker: If you’re using AdBlock Plus or AdGuard, both block Coinhive’s JS library.
Install a cryptomining blocker extension on your browser: Developers have created Chrome extensions that scan your browser and terminate scripts that “look” like Coinhive. AntiMiner, No Coin, and minerBlock are three plugins that will help protect you against cryptocurrency miner scripts.

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Hacker steals water customers’ money in Margate, police say

more information on sonyhack from leading cyber security expertsSource: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans The U.S. Secret Service is investigating how a hacker managed to get water-utility customers’ personal information to steal their money, Margate police said Thursday. The accounts for sixty-nine water customers in Margate and parts of Coconut Creek were compromised when residents went online to pay their […] View full post on AmIHackerProof.com | Can You Be Hacked?

Greece wants more money, top role for EU cyber security agency

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Greece wants the European Commission to give the Athens-based European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) more money and the leading role in managing Europe’s cyber security issues as part of a legal overhaul next month. “We want ENISA to have a bigger role in cyber security and…

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Teenage hacker who conspired to attack Sussex Police told to pay with pocket money

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

A teenage hacker who conspired to attack Sussex Police and the Hong Kong government has been told his pocket money should be docked. The 17-year-old boy from Hove, who cannot be named for legal reasons, played a ‘significant role’ in an online hacker conspiracy group. He appeared at Worthing Magistrates’…

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Cyber Security: Why Money Isn’t the Answer

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

With the growing cyber security threats, a misconception has established — if users spend more money on security they’ll get better protection. Wrong. Regardless of how much money users spend on protection they could still be infected unless they find the right protection. But how do they do that? Focusing…

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Man Sentenced for Money Laundering in Massive Hacking Scheme

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A Pakistani man has been sentenced to four years in prison for laundering nearly $20 million as part of an international computer and telephone hacking scheme. Muhammad Sohail Qasmani, formerly of Bangkok, Thailand, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He was sentenced to…

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$150,000 in Stolen Indian Bank Money Used to Invest in Bitcoin

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

$150,000 in Stolen Indian Bank Money Used to Invest in Bitcoin

The Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) lost Rs 6.14 crore rupees (approx $950,000) to four hacks in 49 days a bug – the result of a bug in the bank’s UPI …

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ETHICAL HACKERS RAISE MONEY TO HELP REPEAL BILL REDUCING INTERNET PRIVACY

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

ETHICAL HACKERS RAISE MONEY TO HELP REPEAL BILL REDUCING INTERNET PRIVACY

A UTD group called Ethical Hackers is donating the profits from its first annual fundraiser to protest a federal bill overturning previous Federal Communications Commission regulations protecting consumer privacy. On …

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Money transfer hack: Threat is real and what to do about it

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans Remittance transactions in the UAE continue to be vulnerable to hackers and financial institutions must work closely with intelligence units in order to mitigate the risk of customers losing millions of dirhams to cybercriminals, a currency firm said. The UAE … The post Money transfer hack: […]

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