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Your PC Might Be Mining Monero (XMR) Without Letting You Know

Of all the cryptocurrencies that have emerged in the market, each uses a distinct consensus protocol in order to verify the transactions and store them on the blockchain. The earliest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin(BTC) incorporated the PoW(Proof Of Work) consensus protocol. The proof of work protocol dictates that miners may utilize computational power in order to mine a bitcoin. There are certain cryptocurrencies that have been premined, and which do not use the PoW protocol, rather other variations, each demanding a different resource to be kept at stake. Among the cryptocurrencies that utilize computational power to be mined is Monero(XMR), ranked 14th in the current market and holding value of $46.93.

Except for the fact that Monero and Bitcoin, both use proof of work, there aren’t any other similarities present between the two. Monero uses CryptoNight Algorithm, whereas Bitcoin uses the sha256 hashing algorithm. Monero can be mined using CPUs, whereas to mine Bitcoin, one needs to invest in machinery and GPUs that support high computational power. In order to mine these one could install the necessary mining software and try to unlock blocks on his own, or in some cases there are certain platforms that allow individuals to pool their resources to mine crypto.

Sometimes people willingly enter the pool and there are instances where they don’t even know that their resources are being used to mine cryptocurrencies. This happens when your PC is vulnerable to attacks from malicious programs. These malicious programs and viruses reside in these PCs and start utilizing the computational power of these machines to mine cryptocurrencies without the consent or knowledge of the users. This malware can manifest itself into devices and seeps into the system in the same way traditional viruses do. This is also called cryptojacking.

Recently, a group of researchers from Kings College, London and Carlos III University, Madrid, Spain, took to analyzing a number of malicious software dating back 12 years. All the programs that were analyzed were classified as crypto jacking malware. The total number samples of malware that was analyzed was about 4.4 million. The authors of the research paper Sergio Pastrana and Guillermo Suarez-Tangil expressed Monero has an illegal supply of around 4.36% which amounts up to $56 million in profits. Last year another report mentioned that about 5% of Monero in circulation at that time was mined illegally. However it was said at that time that a lot of the web-based Monero miners were not included in the data accumulation.

All things considered, the researchers provided the insight that the criminal business was extremely low cost which yielded ridiculously high profits.

When this kind of a virus infests itself into any device, the other operations become extremely slow. So it is highly important that an antivirus be installed in computers so any threat can be detected and removed in due time. The fragments of these codes are usually etched into websites, apps and extensions which when used, or even clicked upon, get activated and start mining coins. Last year, Google also made the announcement of including a series of restrictive options that disable the extensions, so as to safeguard its users from such threats.

In a nutshell, moving forward it is important to consider better ways to safeguard your personal devices, make them less vulnerable to attacks and to keep the threats at bay. An antivirus software to indicate which sites might contain harmful content. With these precautionary measures taken and with servers like google taking initiatives protect their users from being taken advantage in this manner, the illegal mining or cryptojacking can be reduced significantly and the illicit supply of Monero can be reduced.

Habibah Shahid

A Computer Science student but a writer at heart. Habibah writes about Cryptocurrencies and the underlying technology, Blockchain, with the perspective of a Computer Scientist. Email: Contact the editor at editor.news@blockpublisher.com

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