Qualys announces new Chrome extension to tackle cryptojacking
Qualys BrowserCheck CoinBlocker Chrome extension seeks to tackle a address a rising online threat
Qualys Malware Research Labs has released the Qualys BrowserCheck CoinBlocker Chrome extension to detect and block browser-based cryptocurrency mining, aka cryptojacking.
Cryptomining is a rising online threat that is expected to grow as digital currencies and blockchain technologies receive wider acceptance. Attackers are employing various techniques to use unsuspecting users’ systems for malicious purposes. Cryptojacking has gone mainstream recently because it is safer for cyber criminals and webmasters than ransomware, which requires interaction with the victim to collect payment. And because cryptojacking is browser based, it is easier to infect victims than hacking into servers. As cryptomining becomes more resource-intensive over time in terms of compute power and electricity consumption required, stealing those resources is becoming more enticing to attackers.
The resource-intensive mining process is carried out on victim systems and typically consumes more than 70% of CPU, reducing system performance, increases power consumption and can cause possible permanent damage to the system.
Because cryptojacking helps attackers earn cryptocurrency without spending a dime on mining infrastructure, it is very profitable. The overall cryptocurrency market capitalisation has reached more than $270 billion as of July 2018 with more than 1700 active projects.
Qualys BrowserCheck CoinBlocker Extension relies not only on the domain blacklist but also uses heuristics to identify underlying cryptomining algorithms like CryptoNight (used for mining Monero) and its various artefacts.