What is cryptocurrency mining?

Cryptocurrencies have risen in popularity over the last few years to become one of the most widely talked about forms of investment and payment methods for online shoppers. The emergence of Bitcoin over the last ten years has attracted a following of technology enthusiasts as well as speculators drawn to its tendency to fluctuate wildly in value. This digital token, however, is just one of many cryptocurrencies out there.

This blockchain-based form of currency has become more and more viable over time, despite its tendency to create unpredictable highs and lows in value, with organisations like PayPal letting users pay for goods using Bitcoin. The value of cryptocurrencies, however, is still a major stumbling block to widespread adoption and use, but this ever-changing reality is favourable for those seeking to use cryptocurrencies as an investment vehicle as well as for cryptocurrency miners.

It’s actually quite difficult to create cryptocurrency relative to how traditional money is printed by a central bank. These legacy currencies, also known as fiat currencies, are managed centrally, with the central bank of any particular country issuing new physical notes and coins to replace older variants in circulation, which are removed from the economy. Cryptocurrency, on the other hand, is generated through a process called ‘mining’.

source : https://www.itpro.co.uk/digital-currency/30249/what-is-cryptocurrency-mining

Different Methods of Mining Cryptocurrencies

Different methods of mining cryptocurrencies require different amounts of time. In the technology’s early days, for example, CPU mining was the go-to option for most miners. However, many find CPU mining to be too slow and impractical today because it takes months to accrue even a small amount of profit, given the high electrical and cooling costs and increased difficulty across the board.

GPU mining is another  method of mining cryptocurrencies. It maximizes computational power by bringing together a set of GPUs under one mining rig. For GPU mining, a motherboard and cooling system is required for the rig.

Similarly, ASIC mining is yet another method of mining cryptocurrencies. Unlike GPU miners, ASIC miners are specifically designed to mine cryptocurrencies, so they produce more cryptocurrency units than GPUs. However, they are expensive, meaning that, as mining difficulty increases, they quickly become obsolete.

Given the ever-increasing costs of GPU  and ASIC mining, cloud mining is becoming increasingly popular. Cloud mining allows individual miners to leverage the power of major corporations and dedicated crypto mining facilities.

Individual crypto miners can identify both free and paid cloud mining hosts online and rent a mining rig for a specific amount of time. This method is the most hands-free way to mine cryptocurrencies.

source : https://freemanlaw.com/mining-explained-a-detailed-guide-on-how-cryptocurrency-mining-works/

Crypto-mining malware: Uncovering a cryptocurrency farm in a warehouse

Crypto-mining malware in corporate networks

Crypto-mining malware has the ability to hamper and even crash an organization’s digital environment, if unstopped. Cyber AI has discovered and thwarted hundreds of attacks where devices are infected with crypto-mining malware, including:

  • a server in charge of opening and closing a biometric door;
  • a spectrometer, a medical IoT device which uses wavelengths of light to analyze materials;
  • 12 servers hidden under the floorboards of an Italian bank.

In one instance last year, Darktrace detected anomalous crypto-mining activity on a corporate system. Upon investigation, the organization in question traced the anomalous activity to one of their warehouses, where they found what appeared to be unassuming cardboard boxes sitting on a shelf. Opening these boxes revealed a cryptocurrency farm in disguise, running off the company’s network power.

Had it remained undiscovered, the crypto-mining farm would have led to financial losses for the client and disruption to business workings. Mining rigs also generate a lot of heat and could have easily caused a fire in the warehouse.

This case demonstrates the covert methods opportunistic individuals may take to hijack corporate infrastructure with crypto-mining malware, as well as the need for a security tool which covers the entire digital estate and detects any new or unusual events. Darktrace’s machine learning flagged the connections being made from the warehouse boxes as highly anomalous, leading to this unexpected discovery.

In organizations with Antigena active, any anomalous crypto-mining devices would be blocked from communicating with the relevant external endpoints, effectively inhibiting mining activity. Antigena can also respond by enforcing the ‘pattern of life’ across the digital environment, preventing malicious behavior while allowing normal business activities to continue. As bad actors continue to proliferate and hackers devise new ways to deploy crypto-mining malware, Darktrace’s full visibility and Autonomous Response in every part of the digital environment is more important than ever.