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Cryptocurrency has made the headlines numerous times in recent years, not always in a positive manner. That's partly because a practice called cryptomining lets individuals and organizations “mint” Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, potentially reaping substantial profits from their activities. Why does this matter to your business? Because these miners could be hijacking some of your IT system's computing power – or even your finances – in the process.

To understand why this should be, it's necessary to understand the basics of how cryptomining works. Cryptocurrency is virtual or digital currency which may be purchased outright with fiat currency or “mined” for a profit. Cryptominers compete to solve exquisitely difficult mathematical puzzles (which are basically verifications of previous transactions). Solving a puzzle completes what is known as a block, which contains a specific number of currency coins.

Cryptomining demands jaw-dropping amounts of computing power. To obtain this power, miners infest computers all over the world with tiny programs called bots. These bots divert processor cycles from their countless targets for the miner's use. If your IT system gets hit by cryptomining bots, it can develop performance and system integrity problems – and that's not all. Just last month a cryptomining bot was discovered shuttling funds from host computers to a Chinese financial scam company. Even such major entities as the Showtime website have unwittingly hosted this form of malware.

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What can you do? First of all, keep your malware protection programs as up-to-date as possible all the time, since these programs can detect and block many cryptomining bots. Second, keep a close eye on any irregularities in your IT system's CPU usage or performance. Our Austin managed IT professionals can provide the regular monitoring and updates you need. Give us a call so we can work on keeping your IT system as bot-free as possible!

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