After Apple, Google has now followed the lead and banned crypto mining apps from devices. In a recent update to its Play Store policies on July 26, 2018, Google includes a section that bans crypto mining apps. It, however, still allows apps that manage crypto miners. The ban affects Crypto mining apps such as Crypto Miner, NeoNeonMiner, and MinerGate. Earlier this year, Google banned Crypto mining extensions from Chrome. Google has not been clear about what will happen to the applications that are Anchoralready present.
Crypto-mining has become a very lucrative venture in the recent past due to the increase in popularity and increase in the prices of coins. Crypto mining applications download pending transactions from Blockchain and complete the work. It takes a lot of processing power to mine. It may cause overheating of devices especially if mining is done using a smartphone. Mining is important to any Cryptocurrency system because it is the primary method of determining who used what currency.
Crypto mining has provided an opportunity for criminals to take advantage of websites that are not protected properly. They use the computers of visitors to generate cash for themselves. Early this year, a Chinese firm that deals in security on the internet found out that about 7 000 devices including smartphones and TVs were linked to a botnet network which was made to mine Monero Cryptocurrency. Malwarebytes also found out about a technique that hackers use to mine cryptocurrencies from millions of devices. Crypto miners have become a nuisance. They make up a significant percentage of cyber-attacks. Skybox security confirmed that illegal mining of Cryptocurrency has increased so much that it is now more rampant than ransomware. The firm reported that crypto jacking made up to 32% of all cyber attacks
According to Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity firm, cases of crypto-jacking have increased by at least 44.5% over the past one year.
The ban by Google may help to reduce cases of crypto-jacking. Crypto-jacking is a technique that hackers use to fix scripts for mining Cryptocurrency onto the devices of unsuspecting users. The attacks are not only wrong and violating of people’s privacy. They take up a lot of battery power and they contribute greatly to a poor performance of the device systems.
Detecting crypto-jacking can be difficult especially because it may only affect a few systems. People that have strong endpoint protection assume that they cannot be victims but that is not the case. Research on the signs of crypto mining and look out for them.
How To Prevent Crypto-Jacking
Use ad-blocking web browsers and add anti-Crypto mining extensions. Hackers deliver their Crypto mining scripts through ads. Find an ad blocker that can detect the scripts. Do not ignore your browser extensions. Some hackers can damage legitimate extensions to deliver their scripts.
Update your web filtering tools as often as you can. Stay away from web pages that you suspect to be delivering the scripts.
Take advantage of endpoint protection that is able to detect crypto miners. Many endpoint protection sellers are now availing software that can detect crypto miners.