One of the fastest-growing malware threats of the past 18 months affects half of the businesses in the world, and most of them don’t know it. It’s called cryptojacking, an unintended consequence of the booming popularity of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Most victims don’t notice that they’ve been hit by cryptojacking because its adverse effects are relatively inconsequential: it just steals CPU cycles from your computer, as well as the electricity required to power it.
Getting hit by ransomware -- a similarly-pervasive and fast-growing but much more destructive malware threat -- is like a roundhouse punch to the face: your files get locked up with encryption until you pay some distant criminal hundreds or thousands of dollars for the key. Compared to ransomware, cryptojacking seems more like a mosquito bite: an annoyance, not a grave threat.
But the harsh reality is that like disease-carrying insects, some cryptojackers bring lethal friends along with them.