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University Study Confirms Cryptojacking Continues to Evolve

A method known as crypto jacking, which attempts to utilize remaining computing power from devices, has become excessively frequent since digital assets became more popular. A deeper investigation of these cyber attacks was conducted through the collaboration between Chinese-based Fudan and Tsinghua Universities as well as the University of California Riverside. Research results show that cyber hackers have become increasingly more sophisticated with an undeniable trend towards such activities. 

 

How Cryptojacking is Detected

The collaborative study facilitates an in-depth understanding of hacking activities such as crypto jacking. Specialized technology used to detect this activity called a CMTracker was used to analyze over 800,000 URLs. Results suggested that current methods used to pinpoint these activities are unable to detect over 50% of crypto jacking found through the study.

This may be due to the fact that current methods function under the assumption that websites under crypto jacking abuse would have exhausted CPU resources or other known indicators. The method known as blacklisting methodology was determined inaccurate by the recent study.  

The CMTracker does depend on two distinct profilers including the hash-based and stack-structure profiler. Each monitors specific and often hidden aspects of a website affected by crypto jacking activity. As a result, the tool can help pinpoint activity conducted by advanced hackers in addition to those easily detected by current methods. By monitoring stack structures, the tool is able to detect the creation of both single and multiple threads, a prime indication that identifies crypto hackers. By performing manual checks, the study was able to confirm these detections further proving its advanced ability.

The Reality of Cryptojacking

According to the results derived from their study, eight hundred and sixty-eight websites were confirmed to contain crypto jacking activity out of the hundred thousand reviewed by Alexa. With extended analysis of external links containing over five hundred and forty-eight thousand URLs from the Alexa review, two thousand seven hundred of which were also confirmed to be under crypto jacking abuse.

According to recent findings, crypto jacking methods have boosted by 260% since November 2017 to this April. Those frequently affected often pertain to adult entertainment among other art geared sites. Essentially, sites that can sustain visitors for longer periods of time the easier it is for hackers to take part in crypto jacking.

Statistics show that cyber hackers earn an estimate of $1.7 million derived from ten million devices used to mine Monero each month. The added energy use also amounts to more than 200,000-kilowatt hour per day, which would sufficiently power a town of nine thousand occupants.

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