What is Bitcoin Mining and how to Avoid Crypto Mining Browser Attacks
What is bitcoin mining?
Bitcoin mining is a peer-to-peer process that utilizes computing power to verify and secure bitcoin transactions. It is decentralized and not a single individual or corporation has absolute control. The term mining is reminiscent of gold mining as people need to look for Bitcoins by solving complex mathematical equations. Bitcoin miners get rewards for finding bitcoins and helping make the process more secure.
Anyone can become a bitcoin miner by installing Bitcoin mining modules and software with specialized “Bitcoin mining hardware”. The software listens for broadcasts about transactions on the peer-to-peer network. It then performs necessary functions like processing and confirming said transactions. Fast processing of transactions earns Bitcoin miners great rewards and they are also paid for any newly created coins issued.
Mining involves adding transaction data to a global, public ledger. Different groups of transactions are known as “blocks” that are built on top of each other to make a “chain”. The blockchains confirm that these transactions gave truly taken place. In between block nodes, that verify Proof of Work (PoW). Proof of work is very difficult to generate as bitcoin miners must try billions of different calculations each second, but it is an important function that protects against double spending. Since a chronological order is mandatory in the blockchain, it is very hard to reverse previous transactions or cheat the system. The block node quickly rejects blocks with invalid data to protect the integrity of the global public ledger. Bitcoin mining was deliberately designed to be a difficult, resource-intensive process to ensure steady finds by miners. To maintain global consensus that is based on processing power miners must work on one block at a time even if they were lucky to find two at the same time. After they are done with the first they can then switch to the longest chain.
Coin mining used to be an energy-intensive process but it has been optimized with special hardware that saves on energy consumption. The Bitcoin mining profitability calculators available allow you to measure power consumption and the average hash rate among other factors that show if you are making profits. The speed at which your hardware processes data and solves the difficult equations required to earn bitcoins is known as hashing. To increase the odds of finding new blocks, people often create Bitcoin mining pools. Members share their hashing resources, solve blocks together and distribute the rewards.
Bitcoin mining is a new way of generating an income all over the world. These coins are different from regular measures of wealth like gold and money in that they are decentralized. Bitcoins are valuable and it is easy to sell them in exchange for regular dollar bills. Owing to their value, mining has become a daily undertaking for many in the quest to locate the last Bitcoin.
How to protect yourself from cryptocurrency mining browser attacks
Like with most modern day malware, it is impossible to tell the moment a mining component goes to work behind the scenes whenever you open your browser. In fact, you might never notice that you are paying more for electricity because someone else is using your devices to gain digital profit. Even worse, the malware could deny access to certain sites and coerce you to visit certain sites. Malicious browser hacks such as these not only lead to monetary losses, they also compromise privacy.
Crypto mining browser attacks took a hold when Coinhive introduced a script that would start mining the Monero coin whenever a webpage loaded. Many copycats emerged with ill intent and started secretly injecting their scripts in popular sites in order to gain more profits from the traffic. In addition to mining in the background, some malware focuses on stealing cryptocurrency wallets. Your browser can be hijacked even if you visit authority, legitimate websites but worry not as there are solid methods of protecting yourself. Start by adding sites you know or are worried conduct in-browser mining to your browser’s blocking tools. A good example is No Coin, a Chrome extension that blocks Coinhive mining. Blocking any type of in-browser mining will help you cut energy costs and free you from the grasp of attackers who are taking advantage of you.