VANCOUVER — Anyone casually surfing the internet at home can be deployed as an unwittingly productive member of a hacker’s workforce, a practice known as “cryptojacking” that is on the rise.
Internet sleuths have discovered malicious code on the websites of several major companies — including Canada’s Loblaw Companies Ltd. — left by cryptojackers looking to break into computers and commandeer their processing power for cryptocurrency mining.
Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are digital “coins” created by groups of computers — known as miners — that work together to solve mathematical puzzles that verify transactions. The more puzzles they solve, the more currency they earn. The exercise is hugely taxing on a computer’s processing power and the electricity it requires is expensive.
Screenshots taken in late September offer limited information, said Daniel Tobok, CEO of cybersecurity boutique firm Cytelligence Inc., but appear to show a third party trying to leverage the website to connect to a cryptocurrency miner.
These types of breaches are extremely common, Tobok said.