Here at Intrust IT, we’ve seen an increase in crypto mining on company servers with new and existing clients. Our vulnerability assessment can catch if employees are engaging in crypto mining on your company’s server. Let’s take a look at what it is, what the immediate effects are and the larger threat.
What Is Crypto Mining?
Crypto mining refers to the process by which new crypto currencies enter into circulation. Often requested in ransomware attacks, bitcoin is the most popular crypto currency. Bitcoin mining is done by using some complex computer code and supporting hardware: think of a big server with lots of bandwidth and high speed internet. “Mining” allows you to earn crypto currency without having to pay for it. See the appeal?
This may sound complicated, but it is amazingly easy for someone to start stealing valuable resources from your company. In fact, Norton 360 recently built crypto-mining into their antivirus software. So if your company is using that software, your network admin might be funneling the proceeds right into their pocket!
The Immediate Effects
Crypto mining is the new stockroom theft. Instead of stealing office supplies, employees are stealing time and resources. They are usually working, on company time, to install, monitor and manage the mining software. Plus, this software is eating up tremendous amounts of electricity that the company pays for, not to mention bandwidth. This could potentially slow down other network operations that are needed to run your business. Furthermore, you may want to re-think your IT team personnel who have access to your network and can install unauthorized software. But, that’s an HR issue and we’re here to talk about IT issues.
The Larger Threat
The larger threat of someone crypto mining on company servers is that it leaves you vulnerable to malware attacks. Any unauthorized software installed on your network puts your system at risk, even if it isn’t the intent of the mining software. Leaving a cybersecurity gap in your network is never good, even if it’s putting a few extra bucks, or should I say bitcoins, in your IT person’s wallet.
Do you suspect one of your employees is mining bitcoin? Request a vulnerability assessment from Intrust and find out.
Dave Hatter (CISSP, CCSP, CCSLP, Security+, Network+) is a cyber security consultant, writer, educator and on-air media contributor. See hundreds of Dave’s expert interviews on cyber security on his YouTube channel, or tune in to 55KRC every Friday morning at 6:30 for his “Tech Friday” segment.