There’s been a troubling cybersecurity trend in businesses recently — an increase in crypto mining on company servers. A vulnerability assessment can determine if this is happening in your company. Here is a brief explanation of crypto mining on company services and the effects it can have on your company.
What Is Crypto Mining?
Crypto mining is a process of generating and verifying cryptocurrencies — digital currencies that don’t rely on a government or bank to uphold them. Because cryptocurrency is not centralized and more difficult (although not impossible) to trace than traditional currencies, it is the payment method of choice for ransomware and other cyber crime. Bitcoin is the most well-known cryptocurrency, but in 2022 there are actually more than 10,000 different types of digital coins, according to Statistica.
Crypto mining (often called Bitcoin mining) is performed using a complex computer code and supporting hardware. It involves the verification of new transactions against the cryptocurrency network, which results in the production of new coins. “Mining” allows you to earn cryptocurrency without having to pay for it.
It sounds complicated, but it’s really easy for someone to start crypto mining. And it is perfectly legal to do so on computers you own. The popular antivirus provider Norton even released Norton Crypto that allows you to mine cryptocurrency on your computer when it is idle. But making crypto mining profitable takes a lot of hardware, which is how this became a problem for businesses. In short, programs are loaded onto company servers to mine crypto, which steals valuable bandwidth and resources from your company.
The Overnight Effects
Most people know what stockroom theft is. That is exactly what crypto mining is but instead of stealing office supplies, employees are stealing time and resources. They are usually working, on company time, installing, monitoring and managing the mining software.
In addition to that expense, the software is using up tremendous amounts of electricity and bandwidth — driving up costs and slowing down other network operations that are needed to run your business.
When crypto mining software is found on a company server, it is often because of an IT team member who has access to the entire network and can install unauthorized software. This can be avoided with checks and balances that ensure software must be authorized before it can be installed.
The Bigger, More SeriousThreat
While that’s scary enough, the bigger threat of someone crypto mining on company servers is that it leaves your network vulnerable to malware attacks including ransomware.
Whenever unauthorized software is installed on your network, it puts your entire system at risk, even if the mining software’s intent is not to install malicious software. It does leave a severe cybersecurity gap in your network.
If you suspect one of your employees is mining bitcoin, talk to your managed service provider (MSP) about a vulnerability assessment test.
Use our Managed Service Provider Checklist to Find the Right
Our easy-to-follow checklist can guide you through the process of the best IT services provider for your business.
Are you a first-timer to IT support? Maybe you aren’t happy with your current MSP? This checklist will help you outline and define: