The threat of unauthorized cryptocurrency mining presents cybersecurity concerns for small business owners. While the value of cryptocurrency exchange rates fluctuates in a volatile market, attackers are leveraging SMB computers, browsers and networks to steal their processing power to mine cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrency, digital cash used to process electronic transactions without flowing through traditional financial systems continues to rise in popularity. Many of these currency networks offer anonymity, whereby concealed transactions are an attractive feature for online criminals. The combination of evading traditional financial security controls plus hidden identity transactions is becoming popular for tax evasion, money laundering, ransomware among other illegitimate usages.
One form of compensation is mining cryptocurrency. This is the process of leveraging computing resources for performing intensive computations. Regardless if it’s an employee or an attacker, the unauthorized usage of computers for mining is known as cryptojacking.
Just like any booming market where financial gain is lucrative, criminal activity becomes opportunistic. Cryptojacking is no longer a potential threat, it is real, and occurring across all SMBs today.
Intentional vs. Unintentional Mining
RocketCyber’s threat team runs across two variations of mining:
- Intentional – Most commonly where small businesses employees are looking to earn some side money by “downloading software” whereby bitcoing mining operations leverage the corporate network.
- Unintentional – The majority of instances are where employees are “browsing” to a web application or website where a few lines of javacript code are mining without their knowledge. Online gaming via a web browser in 2019 was the majority of detections.
Just like any booming market where financial gain is lucrative, criminal activity becomes opportunistic. Cryptojacking is no longer a potential threat, it is real, and occurring across all SMBs today, regardles of the intention.
Top Concerns for Small Business
While the theft of computer resources is a concern for any size business, smaller companies need to understand the impact of cryptocurrency mining on their networks.
- $ Higher Electric Bills – caused by miners utilizing processing power
- $ Infrastructure Costs – excessive workload on infrastructure decrease business productivity and reduces lifespan of equipment
- $ Security Threats – unauthorized mining creates a surplus of opportunities for attackers to perform malicious operations
Simply put, cryptojacking costs small businesses time and money due to the impact on daily operations, while presenting new security concerns, new attack vectors and consumption of energy. If small business networks demonstrate the unauthorized usage of mining and theft of power usage, there is a high probability of other malicious activity occurring on these networks that need investigation.
For managed service providers servicing small-medium business networks, RocketCyber provides a CryptoCurrency Miner Detection app, detecting the presence of miners across all customers and their endpoints impacted. Is cryptojacking occurring on your network? Find out by logging into your RocketCyber account, enable the Cryptocurrency app to on, and immediate continuous monitoring exposes real-time unauthorized mining activity.