Over the past year, Bitcoin has seen its value increase by 1,000 per cent, so its perhaps unsurprising that its become an attractive target for hackers. In go bo buy bitcoin process called cryptojacking, cyber criminals are taking over networks and computers to put them to use in mining the cryptocurrency and others like it.
Among recent high profile targets was a public Wi-fi at a Starbucks, where suspicious code was found that turned visitors’ devices into money makers for crooks. HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU’VE BEEN HIT? Cryptojacking is defined as the secret use of your computing device to mine cryptocurrency. It used to only happen when a victim unknowingly installed a malware program that covertly mines cryptocurrency. If the mining is being limited to stay below a certain threshold, you may not even notice it’s happening. But if the mining is not being throttled, you will likely notice some impact on performance.
Many users who have been hit notice slower speeds, usually caused by a drain on their CPU. You may also notice cooling fans on laptops and desktops whirring up to high speed to compensate for the jump in activity. Noah Dinkin, chief executive of email provider Stensul, raised the alarm after visiting one of the coffee shop’s franchises in Buenos Aires. He discovered that anyone who connected to the store’s hotspot was at risk of having their gadgets put to work mining Monero, another digital currency. Starbucks was quick to respond and took action with a third party Wi-fi supplier to remove the malicious code. A spokesman said: ‘We want to ensure that our customers are able to search the internet over Wi-Fi securely, so we will always work closely with our service provider when something like this comes up. We don’t have any concern that this is widespread across any of our stores.