cryptomining myths

Cryptomining has gotten a lot of coverage in the news lately. Because it is such a difficult concept, many myths surface and spread as if they’re facts. We want to help you understand the concept of cryptomining, discern between cryptomining myths and facts, and help you recognise attacks.

Disclaimer: If you’re a professional person reading this, please don’t judge the way we explain things – we’re trying to explain it to the people who have no computer knowledge whatsoever. Like our moms. (Sorry, mom). Also, “miner” refers to the programmer that injects the mining software into websites.


What is cryptomining?

Just to start at the beginning: Cryptomining refers to the mining of cryptocurrencies. Examples of cryptocurrencies, also referred to as e-currencies, are Bitcoin and Monero – it’s like money, but only digital, and encrypted. The rand value of cryptocurrencies can change, just like the rand value of the dollar or euro changes. People can “mine” the currencies much like mining gold, except they don’t have to dig holes in the ground, they have to solve complex mathematical equations to decrypt the encrypted money. Each currency exists in a finite amount, meaning that there is a set amount of equations to solve and once they have all been solved, all of the cryptocurrency will belong to the people who mined them.


How does cryptomining work?

Mining uses a lot of computer processing power. That’s why miners have started hacking websites and injecting extra JavaScript into the website code, because then they have all the computers visiting that specific website do their mining. JavaScript is a computer programming language commonly used to create interactive effects within web browsers. When a cryptominer hacked a website, they can add the mining code to the website without anyone noticing.


Cryptomining myths and facts


Cryptomining is a virus

Myth. Usually, the cryptomining software doesn’t infect your computer – it happens in your browser on the internet. However, your computer may become infected with mining malware when you downloaded an infected file.


Cryptomining will make CPU usage spike

Fact. Your computer will become very slow while you have certain websites open in your browser. If you know how to check your CPU usage, you can check for spikes. But, the miner can set the mining software to only use a limited amount of your CPU which could be little enough for you not to notice. This is unlikely, though, because the miner needs to use a lot of your CPU for the mining to be useful.


Cryptominers will spy on you

Myth. The miner didn’t hack your computer to find out what you are doing and doesn’t care about it either. Probably.


Cryptominers can hack servers

Fact. If you don’t own a server or website, you don’t have to worry about this one. When you own a website hosted on a managed server and your website is very slow, let your hosting provider know so they can have a look. If you own your own server, you have to check for mining software yourself.


How would you know if you’re being used for mining?

If you notice that your computer or website is very slow, you should be suspicious. It’s possible that some of the websites open in your browser, or your whole server, is being used for mining. But what can you do about cryptomining? Continue reading…