Friday, September 21Always On-point

Someone Could Be Mining Cryptocurrency Using Your Computer: Here’s How To Stay Safe

You are probably aware of the buzz that has been surrounding Cryptocurrencies of late. What you may not be aware of is the fact that people are mining cryptos remotely from browsers
and other apps. Website owners and app developers have resorted to use of cryptocurrency mining scripts to use the CPU power of visitors to earn profits.

What is cryptocurrency mining?
Crypto mining is the act of using processing power to generate or make coins. Some questionable characters have resorted to browser hijacking in order to mine resources using your
computers processing power. You will be using your computer or mobile phone as you normally do and then you visit a site that has some software that hijacks or harvests your
processing power and uses it to generate cryptocurrencies (e.g Bitcoin/LiteCoin/DashCoin).

Popular torrent site ThePirateBay was caught red handed last year as their site was exposed as having a javascript cryptocurrency miner. Another side effect of the browser hijacking is
that your computer might actually slow down visibly as the resources being directed to your browser increase drastically. So now that we’ve established how anyone can get hoodwinked
let’s look at how to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the first place.

Oh, you may be wondering if this is lawful. Well because cryptos are not exactly regulated the websites that are mining through browsers are not breaking any particular laws so they
cannot be forced to takedown the scripts or their site

Watch what you install on your computer and even on mobile
Yes, you may love exploring new apps and extensions but before you go on your voyages in the Play Store or Apple Store it would be advisable to check the reviews of an app to see how
many people are using the app and how well it’s reviewed. The higher the number of good reviews and users the fewer the chances of encountering any malicious software that may be
used to mine for coins or contain other types of spyware in general.

You may be asking “aren’t big companies actually the riskiest since they have large user bases?” But in truth companies such as Facebook, for example, would benefit more by maintaining
their reputation rather than make huge amounts on cryptos and then get caught in the act of illegal mining. So remember to watch what you install and try your best to install only
necessary apps.

How To Prevent Remote Mining on Your Browser

You can install an extension
You can install either No Coin or Miner Block from the Chrome and Firefox webstores.

No Coin is also built into Opera’s browser so I guess Opera users are safe. There are multiple other apps that claim to block crypto mining but I chose to recommend these two because:

they are rated highly and
the rating is obtained from a higher number of users than the competition which makes it likelier that these are safe.
No Coin and Miner Block work in the background to make sure that no browser hijackers are actively trying to bamboozle your browser into using more than the necessary processing
resources. Extensions aren’t the alpha and omega of blocking miners and there are other steps that can help you stay safe. Ensure you have an antivirus and malware suite that prevent
miners trying to remotely access your computer.–techzim

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