What are the differences between crypto jacking and crypto mining? Apart from the legal aspects, there are lots of differences between crypto jacking and crypto mining. Even the purposes and processes differ significantly.
If you are unaware but want to know more about them, you are in the right place. This article comprises the major differences between crypto jacking and crypto mining for you to have a better understanding.
There is no denial of the fact that both crypto mining and crypto jacking are quite popular due to the fact that both these are closely tied to two things: one, the price of crypto coins that have high volatility, and two, the desire of people to gain more coins.
8 Differences Between Crypto Jacking and Crypto Mining
Crypto mining can become crypto jacking when it is done illegally without any authorization from the user. This is a crime. Check out Differences Between Crypto Map and Tunnel Protection.
If you want to stay away from committing such a crime, here are a few significant differences between crypto jacking and crypto mining for you to know.
Crypto jacking, on the other hand, is a process in which the hackers take control of the computer system of a user and steal their resources to mine crypto coins secretly without letting the user know about it for their own benefit. A hacker can hack one particular system or the entire network, depending on the resources used.
In crypto mining, the miner is rewarded in turn for their contributions made to the network. These rewards are usually given in the form of crypto coins, unless mentioned otherwise.
Crypto mining is a legal process. If you have the resources which include expensive mining hardware and a lot of electricity, you will face no legal consequences since you will not be violating the rules and regulations pertaining to cryptocurrencies.
Crypto jacking, on the other hand, is an illegal way to gain more crypto coins that do not belong to or are actually owned by a person, called the hacker. If caught, there can be serious consequences.
In crypto mining, both the miner as well as the crypto company is benefitted. The miner gets rewarded with more crypto coins that expand their crypto portfolio. On the other hand, the crypto companies get the transactions made on a blockchain validated quickly without them needing to spend a lot of time and resources for the same.
In contrast, in crypto jacking it is only the hacker who is benefited, that too in an illegal manner. The crypto companies in such situations lose an enormous amount of money. There are lots of instances where crypto companies and exchanges were shut down due to incurring huge, irrecoverable losses.
5. The Cost Factor
When it comes to cost, crypto mining can prove to be a more expensive process to get more coins in comparison to crypto jacking. This is because in crypto mining you will need specialized hardware.
In fact, a powerful and efficient mining rig may cost as much as a super gaming computer. Add to that, there is a constant supply of a high amount of electrical power required which will add to the monthly bills significantly.
In comparison, the hackers do not need to make a large investment for crypto jacking as compared to the cost of crypto mining. A standard computer will be enough for a hacker. And, a large amount of electricity is also not required for hacking a computer system.
Crypto jacking is done by the hackers usually by sending a malicious link attached to an email of a user. This link, when clicked, downloads the code for crypto mining onto the computer.
The malware then continually works in the background while the victim, unknowingly, continues to use their computer just like they normally do on any given day. The code sent by the hacker, however, does its job silently and secretly to steal the resources and money of the victim.
In comparison, the crypto mining process usually involves three specific types, depending on the hardware used and different technical point of view.
These are GPU mining which is based on the video cards, CPU mining which is based on the processor of the computer system, and ASIC or Application Specific Integrated Circuit based mining which includes special computers that are specially designed for mining crypto coins based on specific algorithms.
Crypto jacking, or the malware injected into the computer, will not only allow the hacker to gain control of the system but will also cause it to slow down therefore affecting its performance with unnecessary lagging in executing a command. The crypto hacker will be able to make use of the spare cycles of the CPUs of the unsuspecting users.
They will pick several different pockets at the same time which will allow them to benefit more and at the same time keep the cost per victim to the minimum. As said earlier, there will be just a slight dip in the performance of the system and just a small fraction of a cent of electric power consumed, if it is done correctly.
On the other hand, during crypto mining, complex mathematical equations are solved. The first person to crack a code validates and authorizes a transaction and, as said earlier, gets a small number of crypto coins as a reward.
This verified data is then added to the public ledger which is called the blockchain. The Proof of Work mechanism actually secures cryptocurrencies and this algorithm makes sure that any single authority does not become too powerful to run the show alone.
This means that a new block will only be added to the blockchain if a miner is able to create a new and valid Proof of Work. This process ideally happens within the blockchain of the particular network after every 10 minutes.
The primary objective of the Proof of Work algorithm is to prevent double spending or the users from gaining extra coins that they did not earn.
In crypto jacking, there are primarily three main methods followed to mine crypto coins. These are hacking into or hijacking the infrastructure of the IT network, downloading a malicious code or malware into the computer to execute crypto mining scripts, and accessing cloud services.
One of the most common methods is file-based crypto jacking sent usually as an attachment with an email. However, browser-based crypto jacking is also quite common where the IT infrastructure is used to create a script for crypto mining with a programming language and embed the same after that into several websites.
And, via the cloud-based crypto jacking the hackers look into the files and codes of an organization for the API keys to access their services. Once they do, unlimited CPU resources are siphoned off for crypto mining.
On the other hand, the methods of mining crypto coins are also different irrespective of the type of equipment used. These are solo mining or individual mining where everything mined and earned belongs to the miner but it involves a large hash rate for simplifying the computational complexity.
Collective mining in pools is also a good way to mine crypto coins to reduce the use of computational power. Here the earnings are divided among all the miners in the pool based on their commonly agreed terms.
And finally, cloud mining is also quite popular among the miners who mine crypto coins on an industrial scale. No personal equipment is required and therefore it is quite a cheap process but only a small fee is paid to the cloud service provider for allowing you to use their equipment and services.
Which and Why Do People Take Part in More?
Typically, crypto mining can turn into crypto jacking when it is done without the consent of the user. Though it is not recommended, few users favor this route for a few specific reasons as mentioned below.
Crypto mining is a process that involves making zillions of crypto calculations. This involves setting up hundreds and thousands of computer servers with high power and capabilities.
Crypto mining actually means renting a space in the data center. These data centers have better cooling efficiency and cheap electricity, like the ones you usually find in Iceland.
Therefore, with all these requirements, it can be safely said that crypto mining is not an option for all and also it is not a one-size-fits-all option.
Apart from its significant necessities that are obviously costly, there are also several other good reasons for which people do not want to do crypto mining and exploit the benefits of it, such as:
- It is quite resource intensive needing quite a lot of processing power and force to figure out the capability to constantly produce new suppositions without fail
- The return on investment is not as high as it should be or expected and it is expected to reduce even more in the future when more and more people get involved in it making it more difficult to speculate and
- It is not a feasible option in most of the geographic locations due to the varied perspectives of governments in different regions regarding crypto mining.
The other way is to cheat, which is crypto jacking. In this process, another person, called a hacker, typically breaks into the network through the computer system of a user to install this crypto mining software.
This allows them to steal the CPU power and electricity. This software can be injected into a laptop or a PC which is good, or into a server which is better, or in a supercomputer which is the best of all ways.
There is also another way of crypto jacking which is to take over the access point of the guest Wi-Fi. This is even much better because the crypto mining code can be injected into the system of the user wherever they go.
There are several open-source toolkits available now that can inject the rogue crypto mining code automatically into Wi-Fi traffic.
Once done, when the hackers plug in with their anonymous crypto mining ID, the earnings are automatically directed to them.
Crypto jacking is a favored activity to the hackers because it allows them to infect several computers that will mine crypto coins for them.
Another significant reason for choosing this route is that the chances of getting caught are significantly low.
This is due to the fact that the crypto mining code injected is mainly surreptitious and therefore it is hard to detect it for quite a long time.
Crypto jacking, though a specific malware, is significantly different from its other types because it does not cause any permanent damage to the computer systems, well, most of the time.
It will not cause any harm to the infrastructure of the network or siphon off the data of the victims.
The primary objective of it is to steal the processing power and resources of the Central Processing Unit or the CPU of the computer.
Today, crypto jacking is quite popular and also favored by a lot of users which has made it a serious global issue.
This is mainly due to the criminal equation behind this worm-driven attack which is: more CPUs = more money made.
Though crypto jacking may seem like a mild and victimless crime compared to any other type of ransomware, it surely is a clear and present danger. There are several reasons for it.
There is both a regulatory and reputational cost involved with crypto jacking.
You actually do not know what else the hacker has injected into your computer during the breach and what will happen when you report this incident, which you will surely need to do.
Then there is the opportunity costs associated with it because there may be several customers that may not be able to access and enjoy the services since the hackers will be using up all the power.
There are a few significant ways in which crypto jacking can be fought back, and even eliminated.
First, educate yourself about crypto jacking. Find out what it is, know more about it through research and its working process, and what you can do to eliminate the threat.
You will then need to detect whether or not your system is subject to crypto jacking in order to be safe than sorry. There are a few specific ways to do that such as:
- Looking for poor or slow performance of your computer
- Taking computer overheating into account though it may not be a direct consequence of crypto jacking and
- Looking for any sudden and unaccounted increase in the CPU usage.
Taking out some time for monitoring the websites that you use the most is also a good thing to do. If you notice any changes, take the following steps to protect your device.
If you have a team or employees, you should train them to detect and understand crypto jacking so that they take the initial steps to investigate further.
A few other best practices to follow are:
- Avoiding visiting unsecured websites that has no SSL certificate or start with HTTPS
- Not visiting sites that say it is risky to continue
- Updating your antivirus software
- Not clicking on emails with ‘too good to be true’ offers and
- Not downloading attachments sent by unknown sources or in an unknown format.
Also, be aware of the trends and perform regular spyware and malware scans on your system.
Crypto jacking and crypto mining, both will allow you to add more coins to your crypto portfolio. However, choosing the traditional, common, and safer way of crypto mining is more prudent, now that you know the difference between them.