Cryptojacking on the rise, says Google strategist

Cryptojacking, the process of hacking into somebody else’s machine for mining cryptocurrency, is on the rise, said Varun Kohli, leading strategist, Google.

Speaking at a session on ‘Disruptive technologies of bitcoins, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning’ here at the concluding day of the 12th edition of COCON, the annual cyber security and hacking conference, on Saturday, Mr. Kohli said Cryptojacking was fast replacing the old fashioned Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack by hackers.

DoS is a kind of cyber attack where the perpetrator tends to make a machine or network inaccessible to its intended users by disrupting its connection to the Internet indefinitely. Mr. Kohli said the new age attacker does not bother about DoS attacks but rather infests the machine with malwares and instigates the processing parts into mining of cryptocurrency.

The first cryptocurrency was invented in 2008, and the number has since then increased to over 2,300, the biggest of which is Monero, which is being targeted a lot through Cryptojacking. “Monero worth around $18.50 million is on circulation, and some people say that 5% of it is being earned through Cryptojacking. At present, a single Monero is valued at around 20-25$ taking the earnings through Cryptojacking somewhere in the range of $4 million,” he said.

One could fall victim to Cryptojacking on browsing through an infested website. Even the creator of the website could be unaware of it, stripping him of quite a lot of credentials while the resources of users could be exploited for mining cryptocurrency, probably Monero.

Mr. Kohli said that AI was coming up with incredible solutions previously considered impossible while helping to scale data centres in a big way as well. Asked about the scope of deploying AI in cyber security, Mr. Kohli said it could be used for predicting problems though the real scope would depend on the use for which it is employed.

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