Bullets fell from every angle, but Abdelrhman Badr remained calm.
Suddenly an enemy broke through a window. Abdelrhman spun around to face the soldier and save his team. He aligned his eyes for a fatal blow and pulled the trigger but … his screen went black.
His computer had shut down silently and suddenly without warning.
Abdelrhman was confused. The game he was playing had never caused problems before.
He reached out and looked into his computer, which he liked to leave open and on display in his bedroom.
Instinctively he touched one of the components, swore and pulled his hand back. The graphics card was so hot that it had burned his fingers.
The eighteen year old from Sheffield hadn’t realized it yet, but this slight injury had been caused by crypto-jacking.
Crypto-jacking is the unauthorized and illegal use of someone’s computer to collect Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
It is estimated that there are over 47 million cryptocurrency users worldwide, although it is difficult to be sure of it because of their anonymity. Users collect virtual coins with a complex process called “mining” which puts computers in a variety of math problems.
In a cryptocurrency operation, hackers trick the victims into downloading a malicious file that clandestinely forces their computers to extract this money and sends it back to criminals who can spend it in cryptocurrency markets or turn it into traditional money.
Crypto-socket attacks increase a victim’s electricity bill and can not only slow down infected computers but potentially cause irreparable hardware damage.
Last week, at least a dozen supercomputers across Europe had to be shut down after hackers targeted them with crypto-attack attacks.
Abdelrhman Badr has no idea how hackers entered his system. He thinks he accidentally downloaded the malware three weeks before he burned his hand when he started noticing strange things happening on his computer.
“Whenever I put my PC into sleep mode, the screens go blank but I could still hear the fans running and when I get back on it, they open up on the main desktop without the usual login page or anything else,” he says. “My computer really wouldn’t have slept at all.”
“Shocked and embarrassed”
Even when he burnt his hand, he didn’t initially consider that he was a hacker.
It was actually a mistake that led to his discovery.
“I was playing with a program that monitors computer activity and everything seemed normal, but I accidentally left it overnight,” he recalls.
“The next time I checked, I found out that my computer had sent a lot of information to a strange website that I had never visited or heard of.”
The website was created to collect the Monero cryptocurrency. .
“I was shocked and even a little embarrassed because I am proud to protect my PC. It is really frustrating to know that there may be a program running without my knowledge and a guy secretly extracting encryption, destroying my hardware and stealing my electricity. . “
There could be hundreds, or even thousands of victims like Abdelrhman, who unknowingly line the digital wallet of this hacker or hacker.
“Crypto-seizure attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, using techniques to hide their behavior,” says Alex Hinchliffe, Palo Alto Networks’ threat intelligence analyst.
“Cybercriminals seek as many victim systems as possible. The greater the number of systems, be it PCs, servers, cloud services, mobile devices and other smart devices, as more mining operations can be achieved in a way. relatively benign and discreet. “
Crypto-jacking “on the rise”
Experts say the threat of crypto-jacking increases and decreases with the fluctuating price of cryptocurrencies. According to research by Palo Alto Networks, attacks are currently on the rise.
“It’s not as profitable as it was for hackers, so crypto-miners show up in the strangest places on the Internet to maximize the number of victims. Sometimes we find them hidden in the code of free programs, for example,” adds Ryan Kalember by Proofpoint, another information security company.
Security specialists say computer users should be vigilant and look for changes to their computers, such as slow performance or changes in settings. It is also a good idea to install some security software and run regular virus scans.