Cybercriminals are now targeting media devices and unsecured Internet of Things (IoT) devices for mining cryptocurrencies as many of them use powerful GPUs to decode and transcode content in high-resolution formats. Media devices are especially attractive targets due to their use of powerful GPUs combined with lax home security. And because they tend to always be powered on, there is a lot of downtime that can be exploited without detection.

The phenomenon of ‘cryptojacking’ as it is known, is a new technique where cybercriminals sneak malware into computers and other media devices, and then hijack the computer’s processing power to perform crypto-mining. The number of reported cases is rising and cybersecurity experts are warning individuals and businesses about the danger.

“Cryptojacking has become a growing concern. Cybercriminals aren’t satisfied with the available supply of vulnerable servers and PCs to hijack in order to mine their favorite cryptocurrency. So, they have added another rich source of computational horsepower to their arsenal—IoT devices,” said Fortinet’s Director of Security Research, David Maciejak.

Due to the explosion in IoT, which is projected to connect up to 20.4 billion devices globally by 2020, more and more electronic devices in homes are being connected to a network or Internet. These include smart TVs, IP-enabled security cameras, routers, and other home smart devices.

Experts recommend that users adopt the following strategies to protect their home network:

  • Learn and discover the full range and capabilities of their home network.
  • Implement a segmented network to isolate critical resources such as financial data.
  • Protect all critical devices and perform regular updates.