How to block Cryptojacking

August 1, 2018

Cryptohacking is becoming a big thing. The use of your computer by websites to mine coins for the owner. 

Note: Some websites declare that they will use your browsing session for mining along with how much of your processing power they will take up while in use. Others are not so forthcoming.

If a site was forthcoming I would possibly consider allowing said action while I surfed their site and used their resources in exchange for no advertisements.

 

Checking Performance

 

The first step is to check if there even is a problem to begin with. If you think your system is behaving differently when your browser is working then that is a clear sign of tampering. There are a few symptoms that should raise some flags.

Performance Drop

 

This is usually an obvious sign that your system is doing something it’s not supposed to do. If your system’s performance plummets unexpectedly, then you might have reason to worry. If your system takes too long to switch between windows, crashes often, holds up the entire network then you might want to look into that. The best way to test this is to first disable any running extensions (you can turn them back on after the test) so as to understand the baseline performance of your browser. To disable your extensions and add-ons.

 

Then, launch the Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc) > Performance > Open Resource Monitor (bottom of the window), or open the start menu and write Resource Monitor. 

 

Once here, go to the Overview tab and let it run for about 20 minutes. These results are your system’s baseline performance in idle. It is common to see multiple instances of a browser running, especially with chrome, so you needn’t worry about them.

Once a baseline is established, start visiting your usual websites, keep an eye out for how the performance increases. Here you will see occasional spikes, but if you see a consistent increase in any performance. You’ve got yourself a site that is asking too much of your system.

Increased Heat

 

If your system starts running hotter than usual, than it is also a sign that you might want to consider evaluating your performance. The easy way to tell is to put your hand next to the fan and feel the temperature of the outgoing heat, another way is to monitor your thermals using specialized tools.

 

Block Bitcoin Mining

 

If you have reason to believe that your browser is underperforming, then your next logical step will be to eradicate the source of the affliction. Since you cannot go about dismantling every suspicious website, you can instead prevent your browser from running these mining scripts in the first place. Think of them as ad-blockers for Cyrptocurrency. There are two major projects known as minerBlock and No Coin. Extensions on the Chrome Web Store are based on these.

 

minerBlock: https://goo.gl/2yWjpf

 

minerBlock is a simple tool that monitors for any mining activity online. It first identifies the culprit and then blocks its activities in your browser. It is that simple. You can check out its settings to create a whitelist, or check on how much mining you’ve fended off. If this doesn’t appeal to you, there is another option. Firefox users can install CoinBlock which is the equivalent of minerBlock for Firefox.

 

No Coin: https://goo.gl/isqkZ5

 

No Coin works for the same goal as minerBlock, with the constraint that you can limit the duration of the mining session. You still have a whitelist to maintain or you can pause the extension from running while you operate. I do not recommend installing both extensions at the same time as they take different approaches to the same problem, you run the risk of burdening your system that way. That’s what we are trying to avoid in the first place. No Coin is also available for Firexfox.

 

Stay Curious

 

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