As the popularity of virtual currencies has grown, hackers are focusing on a new type of heist: putting malicious software on peoples’ handsets, TVs and smart fridges that makes them mine for digital money. So-called “crypto-jacking” attacks have become a growing problem in the cybersecurity industry, affecting both consumers and organizations.

Depending on the severity of the attack, victims may notice only a slight drop in processing power, often not enough for them to think it’s a hacking attack. But that can add up to a lot of processing power over a period of months or if, say, a business’s entire network of computers is affected.

“We saw organizations whose monthly electricity bill was increased by hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Maya Horowitz, Threat Intelligence Group Manager for Checkpoint, a cybersecurity company. Hackers try to use victims’ processing power because that is what’s needed to create — or “mine” — virtual currencies.

In virtual currency mining, computers are used to make the complex calculations that verify a running ledger of all the transactions in virtual currencies around the world. Crypto-jacking is not done only by installing malicious software.

It can also be done through a web browser. The victim visits a site, which latches onto the victim’s computer processing power to mine digital currencies as long as they are on the site. Read more from cbsnews.com…

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