What are the differences between cryptojacking and ransomware? Over the years, crypto jacking is gaining more popularity among computer hackers in comparison to ransomware and there are several good reasons for it.
One such reason is the differences in efficiency and profitability in it, of course in the negative sense for a crypto user.
If you are scratching your head wondering what could be the possible differences between crypto jacking and ransomware, this article is just right for you.
Crypto jacking and ransomware are both related to computer hacks but there are significant differences between the two. Check out Differences Between Blockchain and Bitcoin.
Crypto jacking is a comparatively new technique followed by the cybercriminals. In this process they mine cryptocurrencies illegally by hacking both the devices of the users as well as the vulnerable web servers.
Ransomware, on the other hand, is a specific malware that corrupts the system and the attacker demands money to allow you to use your system freely.
In simple terms, the attacker demands ‘ransom’ to let you control your system once again. Both crypto jacking and ransomware will affect your crypto mining process and efforts which is why you should know the difference as well as the ways to protect your system from such attacks.
9 Differences Between Cryptojacking and Ransomware
No matter how safe and secure a system is, the cybercriminals will still find a way to get through the system and affect the working process of it.
This is a common issue faced by the crypto miners since the cybercriminals use ransomware and crypto jacking to steal money from the other users with or without their knowledge.
Crypto jacking is replacing ransomware and it is likely to continue doing it, according to a number of research reports published recently.
In order to be knowledgeable about these two threats, here are a few significant differences between them that are good to be aware of for every crypto trader and investor.
Cryptojacking is the process of mining crypto coins illegally, or stealing them from a user by leveraging the graphics processing power of the computer.
Ideally, the unsuspecting users are the victims of crypto jacking. Most of the time, the users do not even know that their money is being stolen.
Crypto jacking also involves stealing crypto coins from the wallet of a user and there are lots of ways in which this can be done.
In comparison, ransomware is quite different and more complicated. The process typically involves corrupting the entire system making it unusable for a miner. The attacker demands a ransom to allow access to the system again.
2. Time Factor
Typically, a lot of time is needed to develop a malware to deliver the ransomware to a system. This is because the process needs a lot of research, social engineering, reconnaissance, and technical expertise.
Then they need to find a vulnerable server in a website and infect it with the program. Anyone who visits this website will have the program downloaded into their system automatically. It will run in the background and use the power of the system to mine crypto coins.
Crypto jacking can be done on several computers and when done on a daily basis, the attackers can mine a lot of crypto coins without the knowledge of the users.
In comparison, the payouts using ransomware are not as high as crypto jacking and day by day it is becoming even more unproductive.
However, this was a lucrative process once but over time individual users, institutions, and small companies started to refuse to make the payment and therefore the attacker is unable to make quick and untraceable cash.
Crypto jacking programs are harder to detect than ransomware. Since the program does not affect other functions and files of the computer system at all, the users cannot suspect any issue and by the time they do, a lot of crypto coins are lost.
Ransomware, on the other hand, cannot go unnoticed due to its nature. The ransomware will disrupt the operation of the entire system and the attacker will also ask for a ransom. Both ways, the users come to know of it.
If you wish, you can remove the crypto jacking programs quite easily, once you detect it that is. You will simply have to stop and uninstall the crypto mining program or the code on the website.
On the other hand, as for ransomware, you cannot remove it easily because you will need a decryptor for it. Using it, you will need to clean your device entirely and start using it again. This means that you lose all your data in the process, provided you do not have a proper backup.
Or else, you can simply pay the ransom to the attacker. However, at this point, you should know that there is no guarantee that the attacker will unlock your system and files even after receiving the ransom. The hacker may also release any information online before unlocking your files.
It is true that crypto jacking will not affect your files or data but it will seriously affect your computer hardware if it maxes out the resources of the system constantly.
This is usually the case when a novice is involved in crypto jacking. This means that there is a chance of system failure after some time which may result in loss of data as well.
On the other hand, ransomware will not affect your computer hardware but will surely cause data leaks or loss. If you have a proper backup, you will not be at much of a loss.
However, if your data is sold online by the hacker, you may run into the risk of identity theft. This will make you more vulnerable to malicious campaigns and attacks in the future easily.
7. Safety Measures
It is needless to say that you should have a strong and effective antivirus installed on your computer to prevent incidents of crypto jacking and ransomware.
However, in addition to that, if you want to stay safe from ransomware you must watch out for the content you want to download on your computer or want to interact with.
Also, pay specific attention while installing any software online. The best you can do is to avoid clicking on any suspicious links, websites with no SSL certifications or those that do not start with HTTPS, and do not click mails especially those with a link and sent by someone unknown to you.
On the other hand, in order to stay safe from crypto jacking you will have to be more cautious because you may not know which website is running a crypto mining code while you visit it.
Therefore, you should also keep a close watch on your task manager when you use your system as well as know the background processes that may be running. If you find anything in particular that is typically consuming more resources than normal, consider it to be a rogue process.
8. Legal Threats
Typically, the law enforcement departments are more focused on ransomware than crypto jacking and therefore ransomware draws more attention from them. If caught, depending on the level of crime, many can result in a jail sentence for a significant amount of time.
Crypto jacking, on the other hand, does not have legal threats to this extent because it is typically a more covert action. Ideally, crypto jacking still remains the gray area of law since it does not involve stealing information, files and personal data.
In fact, there is no bullying or any direct threat imposed on personal or national security.
9. A Few Other Differences
In terms of popularity (!), some of the biggest news regarding cybersecurity breaches involves ransomware rather than crypto jacking.
When it comes to usage, as of now, crypto jacking is more commonly used than ransomware by the attackers.
Crypto jacking does not affect the files in the system at all and does not pose any threat of data theft. It only consumes computer resources. But the ransomware can lock your files and even steal your data.
Which Poses Greater Threat – Cryptojacking or Ransomware?
Looking at the differences between crypto jacking and ransomware, it can be said that ransomware poses a greater threat than crypto jacking.
Though both will result in a loss, ransomware may result in loss of data and even identity theft.
Another significant problem with it is that even if you have a proper backup of your system, you will need to spend a lot of time to test them and then restore them in your system, not to talk about the expense though.
However, in comparison, crypto jacking, as said earlier, will not result in data loss.
Still, the crypto mining program will not only affect the performance of the server of your company but will also affect the devices of the clients connected to it.
This means that it will have a negative effect on productivity apart from having other critical repercussions.
However, the fact that the crypto mining program can be removed easily once detected makes it quite less threatening than ransomware.
In spite of it, you should always be wary about crypto jacking because more and more cybercriminals are shifting towards it.
There are lots of factors that have resulted in the notable surge in the crypto jacking trend of late which includes:
- Better stealth monetization and
- Fewer chances of authorities cracking down on crypto jacking.
Therefore, you should be extra careful when it comes to crypto jacking because this is a process that is not going anywhere.
In fact, it is evolving with each passing day instead of dying. It does not involve traditional, obvious, and prominent modes of crypto jacking such as uploading crypto mining software to a web browser.
Cryptojacking has now moved on to machine hacking which is much harder to detect.
The experts and critics believe that in the following years there will be a significant rise in crypto jacking instances rather than ransomware attacks due to the increasing profitability of it.
However, this does not mean that the threat of ransomware is gone. It is just in decline. In fact, the hackers are now using more sophisticated and customized attacks which have increased their chances of success by a significant margin.
For example, in the past, the attackers operated on a very large scale and used automated tools to deliver ransomware.
Though this made the process easy for the attackers needing less effort, it also made it easy for the users to detect it using a standard antivirus or just by their common sense.
Now, the hackers are making more targeted attacks. This has helped them to detect the defense measures of a system and react to it in order to infect a system with ransomware.
They can now follow different strategies and continue doing it until they are successful in their efforts.
Therefore, both ransomware and crypto jacking are considerable threats to the IT industry as well as the crypto industry but crypto jacking is a little bit less dangerous than ransomware.
Crypto jacking and ransomware are two common cybersecurity threats but both are different in many ways. Hope this article has been able to let you know the differences, which is a bigger threat, and how to protect your system from them.