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US Federal Trade Commission is now taking complaints about cryptojacking

US Federal Trade Commission is now taking complaints about cryptojacking

The US Federal Trade Commission is now taking complaints from users in the US about cryptojacking. The nefarious practice involves the use of JavaScript code to hijack victims' CPU power to mine cryptocurrencies without their knowledge or express consent. Illicit cryptomining and cryptojacking attacks have risen over the past few years, particularly after the launch of Coinhive.

The cryptomining service allows any website owner to add JavaScript code to their site and generate Monero coins using the processing power of site visitors. However, hackers have since embraced the service to target victims' systems and make a quick buck using in-browser mining scripts in browser extensions, hijacked websites, apps, and more.

In many cases, websites have also embedded the code to generate cryptocurrencies as an alternative to online advertisements as a source of revenue. However, not all explicitly disclose that they are using visitors' processing power to generate coins or asked for their permission to do so.

According to PublicWWW, a search-engine service that indexes the source code of websites, more than 29,000 websites are currently Coinhive's Javascript miner code - intentionally or unintentionally.

Check Point's latest GLobal Threat Index reported cryptominers have become a prolific threat in the cybersecurity landscape. In fact, Coinhive and other variants made its list of Ten Most Wanted Malware.

"Cryptojacking scams have continued to evolve, and they don't even need you to install anything," the FTC said in a blog. "Scammers can use malicious code embedded in a website or an ad to infect your device. Then they can help themselves to your device's processor without you even knowing.

"You might make an unlucky visit to a website that uses cryptojacking code, click a link in a phishing email, or mistype a web address. Any of those could lead to cryptojacking. While the scammer cashes out, your device may slow down, burn through battery power, or crash."

Users who believe they were or are currently victims of illicit cryptojacking can now file an official complaint with the FTC - marking a significant, government-led acknowledgement of cryptojacking as an illegal practice.

"Look for and close performance hogs," the FTC advised. "It can be hard to diagnose cryptojacking, but one common symptom is poor device performance. Consider closing sites or apps that slow your device or drain your battery."

Cyware Publisher