BTC mining is no longer possible among Marines. Us Marine Corps has released an official statement, saying that the use of crypto-mining applications on government-owned devices is prohibited from now on. Other apps are also being banned, with cryptojacking cited as the reason.
The thing is that some apps are using the computing power of the device to mine cryptocurrencies without notifying the user. Basically, those apps are hijacking the device to mine cryptos for someone else’s’ profit.
Worries About Crypto-Mining Scams
Bitcoin mining was all the rage a couple of years ago, reaching the peak of its popularity at the time when BTC reached its highest price ever. However, in 2020, bitcoin mining is no longer that profitable, the main reason being the 2020 BTC halving.
If you’re not familiar with the term, halving is a process that happens every couple of years, after which the reward for bitcoin mining is cut in half. What this means is that with the same computing power as in 2019, bitcoin miners are getting half the reward.
The result is that in 2020, cryptocurrency is only profitable if done on a large-scale. A crypto miner needs a lot of processing devices, as well as a lot of energy, which can be an extremely costly investment. This explains why cryptojacking has become more frequent in recent times.
This fraudulent activity enables cybercriminals to use someone else’s device to mine cryptos. The more devices in the network, the more cryptos are going to be created.
Of course, not many people would be willing to let a stranger use their mobile device to mine cryptos, without giving them anything in return. This is why crypto-jackers are using seemingly legit apps to trick the users into giving away the computing power of their devices for free.
How Cryptojacking Works?
According to the cybersecurity company Norton, there are three methods hackers use to conduct cryptojacking. The first one is the phishing scheme, in which the victim is tricked into loading a crypto-mining code on their device.
The unsuspecting user will receive a seemingly legit email that contains a link that, when clicked, automatically installs the crypto-mining app on the smartphone/computer. Alternatively, it’s not a proper app that’s used by the hackers, but a script that works in the background. With this method, the victim can’t even tell that there’s something fishy going on. At least not straight away, although the reduced performances of the devices are a telltale sign.
The second method is to run a crypto-mining script on a website or a series of websites. When the victim visits one of those sites, the script will automatically load, making their device to start mining cryptos. The code doesn’t get stored on the victim’s device when this method is used, which makes it very hard to figure out that cryptojacking is happening.
The final method is to integrate a crypto-mining script into a mobile app that has nothing to do with cryptos. Unsuspecting users will use the app for other purposes (e.g., fitness tracking, calorie counting, etc.), having no idea that their device is used for hackers’ gain.