The Nikkei Asian Review has recently released figures reporting that Japan is now the most susceptible nation to a type of hacking known as in-browser ‘cryptojacking’, which is now on the rise, due in part to the country’s wide adoption of cryptocurrencies.

Cryptojacking is defined as the secret use of your computing device to mine cryptocurrency. The hacking used to occur when the victim unknowingly installed a program on their computer which secretly mined cryptocurrency.  However, ‘In-browser’ crypto hacking doesn’t need a programme to be installed.

In-browser cryptojacking uses JavaScript on a web page used to mine cryptocurrencies.
JavaScript runs on just about every website, so the JavaScript code responsible for in-browser mining doesn’t need to be installed. Once the user loads the page, the in-browser code runs without any installation process. Since November 2107, Monero cryptocurrency has been available through this process.

Japan has reported more than 130,00 incidents in the three months through December 2017, with cases increasing to 175 times more recorded cases that at the same time the previous year. Globally, an 8,500% increase has been recorded for the year 2017.

The main threats in Japan seem to come from the spread of malicious software through emails or by other means. The malware will then bleed the user’s processor to facilitate mining. The other predominant threat is through a popular script called ‘Coinhive‘, which offers a JavaScript miner for the Monero Blockchain.

Monero has now become the hackers cryptocurrency of choice due to the simplicity of its mining process and can be far easily accessed through Coinhive on terminals or smartphones than through some more sophisticated systems, according to IBM Japan’s Security Operations chief analyst Hideki Inomata.

Toshia Nawa, Cyber Defense Institute of Tokyo head analyst, indicates the complexity of the problem for  users, pointing out that “Certain types of malware are sophisticated enough to mine digital coins only while users are not typing, so users are often unaware that their computers are infected”

Reports released this month reveal that India has now become the second most attacked nation after Japan in the Asia-Pacific and Japan region and the ninth most cryptojacked nation globally.

 

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