Cryptomining in 2018: From benign quest to banned quarry

Stealthier than most modern-day ninjas and nearly undetectable in the day-to-day, illicit cryptominers do not discriminate when pouncing on their next undiscerning targets.

They take what they want without regard for global policy, decency, or ethics, bypassing the ransom demands of yesterday and going straight for the invasive and cunning robbery — proud to leave little in their haste but their imprint on the emerging cryptomining narrative.

We are all targets

To understand the threat that may befall all, or, some of us, it is unnecessary to fully grasp the complex world of cryptoeconomics, a discipline studying the digital transfer of legal tender globally that began as a peer-to-peer means for file sharing, but, alas, emerged thievery, hacking, and corrupt use of the blockchain technology that enables math-based protection of our assets. But it is necessary to do your research and understand why we are all targets nonetheless.

These cryptography mavens identify seminal ways to steal our computing power in an effort to fatten their digital wallets within a competitive landscape where math is cool and the rewards are legendary.

Cryptoeconomics and the data security threat

Whether we may be affected by way of our home computer, work networks, or various cloud network environments to which we find ourselves affiliated and digitally connected, we must empower and enable our own protection by way of research and education. Start with your own country and understand the legality of these basic cryptocurrency operations as well as the level of energy consumption expenditures associated with such activities.

Even if the threat level appears to be unelevated in your neck of the global woods, it’s important to note that elite business news sources like Forbes are professing that illicit cryptomining is among the top cyberthreats of 2018[1].

Bitcoin mining, an otherwise benign fintech activity meant to verify and authenticate digital transactions in the ever-growing cryptocurrency matrix of currency trading today, has proven to easily traverse into the abduction of our power and assets. Recent malware attacks associated with cryptomining efforts, like that of Tesla[2], punctuate the high profile nature of these invasive operations.

Our hardware and computing power may be invaded, pilfered, and overtaken. Our electricity, our computer hardware, and our internet connectivity are all up for grabs whether we partake in active cryptocurrency trading or not. 

Paradigm shift for cryptocurrency traders

If you are part of the bitcoin bubble, and the issues around cryptocurrency mining affect you both as a trader and potential victim, you may find it interesting to know that Bloomberg took on the question of whether or not cryptocurrencies are, in fact, an asset class of their own, in November, 2017[3], by reminding us of two main qualifiers around the reality of asset classes: 1) different asset classes have different uses, and 2) it’s hard to compare different types of assets, like a stock with a bond.

So, if you subscribe to cryptocurrencies’ power to boost your existing wealth via traditional channels, conventional asset classes may serve you well. But, contrarily, if your interest in cryptocurrencies is embedded in a belief that this market is here to stay and will replace national currencies in the lifetime of today’s millennials, I caution you to not only do your research, but invest in, empower, and enable your own protection.

The same cautionary standards that have applied since data security was first threatened by computer domination in recent decades still hold true: backup, update, save, and mistrust both humans and technology that hold too much power. 

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonbloomberg/2018/03/04/top-cyberthreat-of-2018-illicit-cryptomining/#433efc65ae8b

[2] https://www.coindesk.com/tesla-public-cloud-was-briefly-hijacked-by-crypto-miners/

[3] https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-11-07/are-cryptocurrencies-an-asset-class-yes-and-no

 

Photo credit: Christa M. Thomas