Cryptocurrencies may be the way of the future. At least, that’s what many are betting on.
Entrepreneurs and companies are buying, selling and investing funds in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Some retailers are accepting payments in cryptocurrency already. And, most recently, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez proposed that the city begin using Bitcoin for some of its financial transactions, including for employee salaries.
The popularity of cryptocurrencies is attracting a number of people – including hackers. Hackers are currently finding low-cost ways to “mine” Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency illegally by tapping into everyday people’s computers and using those machines’ resources without their consent. The result? Hackers make millions mining cryptocurrency using other people’s computers. Meanwhile, the victims often find their computers slow down and become impossible to use without realizing what’s going on.
This form of hacking – called “cryptojacking” – is happening across the world at astonishing rates. Miners have not only hacked into regular folks’ computers, but they’ve also hacked into major businesses, retailers and governmental agencies to use their servers and machines.
Faraz Naseem ’18, MS ’20 is working to find a solution. Naseem works at FIU’s Cyber-Physical Systems Security Lab, part of the College of Engineering and Computing. Under the supervision of the lab’s director Selcuk Uluagac, Naseem, postdoctoral researcher Ahmet Aris, researcher and lab member Leonardo Babun ’15, MS ’19, PhD ’20 and current electrical and computer engineering master’s student Ege Tekiner, created a novel software to address the problem.
The team created a first-of-its-kind software that detects cryptojacking happening in real-time with an accuracy rate of nearly 99 percent.
“We are one of the first in the world to identify cryptojacking,” says Uluagac, who is also an eminent scholar-chaired associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Knight Foundation School of Computing and Information Sciences. “As Bitcoin technology becomes more prevalent, we will need these types of protections. Miami is already in the…