image via Bitcoin News
Cryptocurrencies keep making the headlines as they hit new highs or have sudden drops in value. What has been less publicized is the growing menace of bit mining bots that some cryptocurrency “miners” are using to keep their costs down and profits up.
Cryptocurrency “miners” are people who are registered to help manage a cryptocurrency network. That’s known a bit mining. There are usually thousands of bit miners for each cryptocurrency. These miners are the cryptocurrency counterpart of bank branches in that they move money - cryptocurrency - around and maintain a system of checks and balances (except that bit miners usually don’t have physical branches that you can visit). Being a bit miner requires a lot of computing power to perform the required number crunching. Bit miners usually have racks full of computers to perform the vast amount of computation that is needed. The reward that miners receive in return for their efforts and costs is in the form of cryptocurrency coins.
The more mining a bit miner can do, the more coins they can make. That has given a few less scrupulous miners the incentive to create bit mining bots. In the world of malware, a bot it a computer program that is designed to go out and find host computers on the internet. Once inside a host computer, a bot will run in the background to perform a tasks for its master. In the case of bit miners, that task is cryptocurrency number crunching. The more computers that a bit miner can enslave to do their mining, the more coins they can make.
Bit mining bots don’t usually sabotage a host computer intentionally. However, bots use-up an enslaved computer’s power which makes other tasks run more slowly. Bots can also inadvertently crash computer hosts that they infect. Also, bit mining bots often go after servers and virtual machines that are hosted in data centers and cloud. These machines are typically more robust than an average PC and have huge amounts of processing power. Virtual machines are paid for based on the computation power it consumes. Therefore companies could be paying for crypto mining malware without knowing it.
Bit mining bots are frequently being modified by their creators so that they can keep sneaking past malware protection firewalls and software. That makes them a somewhat like a flu virus that can develop different strains in one season, thereby making a vaccination less effective. That’s where Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), the latest in computer network security, is especially helpful. ATP devices don’t just rely on a known database of malware signatures to protect a network; in addition to that, they have the ability to find previously unknown malware all by themselves. With the advent of ATP devices, artificial intelligence or ‘deep learning’ is now a reality in the realm of malware detection and it’s an even better way to keep your computer network protected against all types of malware from bots to ransomware.