Safer business

Cryptojacking could be costing your business and the Earth

In a world of high emissions and energy bills, illegal cryptocurrency mining is the last thing business needs. Act now to avoid being exploited.

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As you read this, a cybercriminal could be stealing your business’s electricity and computer processing power. ‘Cryptojacking‘ means high energy bills for business and a big environmental impact everyone wants to avoid.

Cryptojacking is illegally using another’s devices for the power needed to mine cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The threat is already common and fast-growing, costing business billions worldwide and responsible for significant, unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. So, what can you do to stop it?

How cryptojackers compromise your servers and devices

To use your processing power, cryptojackers must sneak mining malware into your systems. They may enter your equipment thanks to leaked login details, brute force or through unpatched vulnerabilities in your operating system and other software. They may also get crypto-mining malware in through USB flash drives or network storage. Once inside, it spreads in a worm-like way.

What cryptojacking costs business

We’ve all seen news reports of falling cryptocurrency values, but it’s still worthwhile for cybercriminals to mine cryptocurrency if they get electricity and processing power for free. But it takes a lot of electricity and processing power to make little gain – a hefty 53 US dollars of system resources for 1 US dollar in crypto earnings.

And it’s common. In 2022, Kaspersky research found cryptojacking accounted for more than 5 percent of attacks on internet-connected computers. In the same year, Kaspersky software detected nearly 30 million cryptojacking attempts aimed at business systems.

Environmental impact of cryptojacking

Its sky-high energy use should make preventing cryptojacking part of your corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy.

By foiling cryptojacking attempts, Kaspersky’s software prevented up to 3,000 tons of carbon being emitted in a year – equivalent to more than 650 cars.

What to ask your IT director about

While cryptojacking’s high computational power requirements reduce device performance, the reduction isn’t always obvious to users, so preventing cryptojacking requires work on multiple fronts.

IT should regularly audit the corporate network looking for anomalies across every endpoint, including easily overlooked queue management systems, point-of-sale terminals and vending machines, which cryptojackers have been known to target.

Your business should use proven endpoint security that gives multi-level, comprehensive protection, including behavioral detection that can roll back  malicious actions. Cybersecurity education for all employees (not just IT) is paramount, making sure staff follow best practice so they don’t unwittingly give away system access.

Cryptojacking is a damaging and wasteful threat leading to unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions and high electricity bills for businesses already challenged by high energy costs. With widespread staff cybersecurity education and the right solutions protecting your business, cybercriminals won’t be able to exploit your precious processing power.

Endpoint security for enterprise

Protect your endpoints against cryptojacking and other attacks targeting larger businesses and organizations.

About authors

Maria Losyukova oversees sustainability and related projects at Kaspersky. She leads ecology initiatives through to volunteering efforts, including joint projects with non-governmental organizations around the world and environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting. Maria also has a second rewarding but more stressful job - raising two girls.