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The Worst CPU Leech: Crypto Mining Malware

January 24, 2023 | By admin | Filed in: hosting.

The TL-DR

This article discusses crypto mining malware, which is a type of malware that uses the resources of a website or computer system to mine for cryptocurrency without the knowledge or consent of the owner. The article explains how crypto mining malware works, its effects on website hosting, and steps that can be taken to prevent and remove it.

Introduction

Crypto mining malware has become a growing concern for website owners and hosting providers. This type of malware is designed to exploit the resources of a website or computer system to mine for cryptocurrency without the knowledge or consent of the owner.

This can have detrimental effects on website hosting, slowing down or crashing the website and causing frustration for visitors. In this article, we will delve into what crypto mining malware is, how it works, and the effects it can have on website hosting. We will also discuss steps that can be taken to prevent and remove crypto mining malware.

What is Crypto Mining Malware?

Crypto mining malware, also known as cryptojacking, is a type of malware that uses the resources of a computer or website to mine for cryptocurrency without the knowledge or consent of the owner. This can be done by installing software on a computer or by injecting code into a website.

The malware uses the computing power and resources of the infected system to solve complex mathematical problems, which in turn generates cryptocurrency. The currency is then sent to the attacker’s wallet, leaving the website owner or computer user to foot the bill for the increased power consumption and resource usage.

Crypto mining malware is typically delivered through phishing emails, infected software downloads, or by exploiting vulnerabilities in a website’s code. It can also be disguised as legitimate software or browser extensions. Once installed, it can be difficult to detect and remove, making it a significant threat to website owners and hosting providers.

How Crypto Mining Malware Works

Once crypto mining malware is installed on a website or computer system, it begins to use the resources of the infected system to mine for cryptocurrency. This process typically involves solving complex mathematical problems, also known as hashing, which generates blocks of cryptocurrency. The malware uses the infected system’s processing power and resources to perform these calculations, which can significantly slow down the system and cause a significant increase in power consumption.

The mining process continues in the background, often going unnoticed by the website owner or computer user. The attacker then receives the mined cryptocurrency in their wallet, leaving the website owner or computer user to foot the bill for the increased resource usage and power consumption.

One of the ways crypto mining malware can be delivered is through a technique called “drive-by mining”. It involves injecting mining scripts into a website’s code, causing the website’s visitors’ computers to mine cryptocurrency without their knowledge. This allows the attackers to use the combined processing power of multiple systems to mine for cryptocurrency.

Another technique is called “browser-based mining“, which is a JavaScript-based crypto mining malware that can be easily embedded into a website’s code and is not detected by anti-virus software. This technique is becoming increasingly popular among attackers, as it allows them to use the resources of multiple systems to mine for cryptocurrency without the need for a software installation.

Specific Examples of Crypto Mining Malware on WordPress Websites

WordPress is a popular content management system and is used by millions of websites around the world. However, due to its popularity, it can also be a target for crypto mining malware attacks. Some specific examples of crypto mining malware that have been used on WordPress websites include:

  • WP-Miner: This is a crypto mining malware that specifically targets WordPress websites. It is typically delivered through infected plugins or themes, and uses the resources of the infected website to mine for cryptocurrency.
  • Cryptojacking plugin: This is a plugin that can be downloaded and installed on a WordPress website. Once installed, it uses the resources of the website to mine for cryptocurrency. This plugin has been known to be distributed through third-party plugin repositories.
  • Coinhive mining script: Coinhive mining script is a JavaScript-based crypto mining malware that can be embedded into a website’s code. Attackers have been known to inject this script into vulnerable WordPress websites, using the resources of the website’s visitors to mine for cryptocurrency.

These examples demonstrate the different types of crypto mining malware that can be used to attack WordPress websites, and how it can be delivered. It’s important for WordPress website owners and hosting providers to be aware of these specific types of malware and take steps to prevent them. This include, keeping the website and its components updated, monitoring the resources used by the website, and being cautious when downloading or installing new plugins or themes.

Effects of Crypto Mining Malware on Website Hosting

Crypto mining malware can have a significant impact on website hosting. It can slow down or crash a website, causing frustration for visitors and potential loss of business for the website owner. The increased resource usage and power consumption can also cause a significant increase in server resources and costs for website hosting providers.

For website visitors, the effects of crypto mining malware can be frustrating, as it can cause slow loading times and a decrease in overall performance. This can lead to a poor user experience and potentially drive visitors away from the infected website.

Website owners may also be unknowingly paying for the increased resource usage and power consumption caused by the malware. This can lead to unexpected costs and a strain on their finances.

For hosting providers, crypto mining malware can cause a significant increase in server resources and costs. The increased resource usage can cause servers to overload, leading to potential crashes and downtime. This can result in a loss of business and damage to the hosting provider’s reputation.

Overall, crypto mining malware can have a significant impact on website hosting, causing frustration for visitors, unexpected costs for website owners, and potential damage to the reputation of hosting providers.

Prevention and Removal of Crypto Mining Malware

Preventing and removing crypto mining malware is crucial for website owners and hosting providers. The following are some steps that can be taken to prevent and remove crypto mining malware:

  • Keep software and plugins updated: This ensures that any vulnerabilities in the software or plugins are patched, making it more difficult for attackers to exploit.
  • Use anti-virus and anti-malware software: These types of software can detect and remove crypto mining malware, as well as other types of malware.
  • Monitor server resources: Regularly monitoring server resources can help to detect any unusual resource usage, which may indicate the presence of crypto mining malware.
  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN): CDNs can act as a barrier between the website and visitors, preventing drive-by mining attacks.
  • Conduct a website code review: Regularly reviewing the website’s code can help to identify any malicious scripts or code injections, which can be removed.
  • Educate employees on the dangers of phishing emails: Employees should be educated on how to spot phishing emails and how to avoid clicking on malicious links or downloading infected software.

Removing crypto mining malware can be challenging, and it is essential to seek the help of IT professionals if it is suspected. Once removed, it is important to continue monitoring the system and implementing preventative measures to avoid future infections.

Conclusion

Crypto mining malware is a significant threat to website owners and hosting providers.

It can

  • slow down or crash a website,
  • cause frustration for visitors, and
  • lead to unexpected costs for website owners and hosting providers.

However, by being aware of the dangers of crypto mining malware and taking steps to prevent and remove it, website owners and hosting providers can protect their systems and resources from this type of malware.

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