Many have heard the term bitcoin in the past and recognize that as a digital currency. Bitcoin is not the only player out there, just the most recognized. The others are unofficially termed Altcoins for alternative coins. Digital or cryptocurrencies are created by a process called mining. This is the process of performing complex mathematical computations related to the encryption of the specific cryptocurrency. That is necessary as the computations are used to verify the validity of transactions along with creating more currency. Mining may be performed by a single computer or many computers working together as a farm. There are even mining pools where operators share the profit by joining forces. These alternative digital currencies operate with different algorithms, privacy aspects, and payment methods. Shady software providers frequently attempt to bundle mining software into downloads when they distribute their wares. That supposedly “free software” you download may not actually be free after all. Someone has to pay the electricity, HVAC, and hardware costs associated with running the machine. This does not include precious time spent waiting for it to perform intended processes by the user while mining software utilizes system resources in the background unbeknownst to them.
Typically, the nefarious groups invest their time and malevolent actions into the best risk-reward return at that time. Ransomware encrypting and holding your data hostage is the most disruptive threat vector for both individual users and businesses right now. However, the malicious actors are enterprising and will attempt to make money by any method possible. If they cannot take your money quickly via ransomware, then enslaving computers to crunch math problems behind your back will suffice. These groups have been utilizing their installed Trojans/back-doors from malicious emails or web downloads to install miners. Some altcoin providers are preferable as they offer these actors additional privacy and less transparency than the standard bitcoin. We have noticed an uptick in user machines protected by SecureSurf attempting to reach out to digital currency pools where the purveyors of the software are cashing in on the infected machines mining operations. An admin received the below SecureSurf generated Critical Threat Notification and reached out to us. They thought this alert might have been a false positive, however, machines on the network were running mining software in the background. They were repeatedly attempting to reach out to a third-party altcoin “call home” pool. If successful, they cash in your algorithm crunching results for currency. What you do not know occurring on your network can cost time, money, and overall decreased productivity. Ask our sales team about a free trial of SecureSurf today.