Cryptocurrency enthusiasts are flocking to the Wild West of Bitcoin and Monero to cash in on the recent gold rush. Bitcoin’s meteoric rise in value is making coin mining an appealing hobby or even a whole new career. Coin mining software is the main tool in a prospector’s belt.
Some coin miners, also known as cryptocurrency miners, are tempted by the dark side of the industry and resort to nefarious means to harness the immense computing power needed for cryptocurrency profits. Greedy cryptocurrency criminals employ a practice called cryptojacking, stealing the computer power of unsuspecting devices to help them mine faster. Your device could be at risk at being recruited to their efforts.
Let’s dig into how coin mining programs work, why they turn malicious, and how you can stay safe from cryptojackers.
How Coin Mining Works
Mining cryptocurrency takes a lot of time and computer processing power. A coin mining home setup requires a graphics processing unit (GPU) or an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC). Coin mining software then runs off the GPU or ASIC. Each central processing unit (CPU), or the brain of the computer, plus the GPU or ASIC is referred to as a mining rig.
Once the software is installed, the rig is ready to mine, running mathematical calculations to verify and collect new cryptocurrency transactions. Each calculation is known as a hash, and hash rates are the number of calculations that can be run per second.
From there, casual miners may choose to join a mining pool, which is a club of miners who agree to consolidate their computing power and split the profits based on how much work each miner contributed to the output.