Cryptojacking: A Real, Economic Threat

By: Mara A. O'Malley | Matthew M.K. Stein
– Legaltech News

Manatt privacy and data security Special Counsel Matthew Stein and Associate Mara O’Malley co-authored an article for Legaltech News, which discussed the economic danger of ‘cryptojacking,’ a relatively new phenomenon, driven by the rising price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The authors explained that blockchains underlying cryptocurrencies rely on in-chain encryption, and adding a new transaction to the chain requires solving the mathematical puzzle necessary to generate new encryption keys to securely encrypt the prior data. “The resulting encrypted value has to meet certain criteria; not just any key will do,” Stein and O’Malley noted, and this requires a lot of computing power. “Cryptojacking can represent an inexpensive way for unscrupulous miners to get that computing power, by using malware that can hijack other peoples’ computers to perform the mining for the miners’ benefit, creating a botnet of drones running the calculations needed to create the proper encryption keys.”

The authors also urged extra caution in today’s remote work environment, where locally installed pieces of background malware may present a security threat to both a company’s electronic infrastructure and its operations.

Legaltech News subscribers can read the full article here.

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