Cryptocurrency mining (also known as cryptomining) is the process of verifying cryptocurrency transactions. It is referred to as "mining" because the process is computing power intensive, and in exchange for supplying that computing power, "miners" are rewarded with some small amount of cryptocurrency. It is against Institute policy to use Institute computing resources for cryptocurrency mining. If your computer is compromised by a hacker, it may end up being used for cryptomining. If Information Security observes cryptomining activity from a device connected to a Caltech network, we may contact the device owner and/or block the device from accessing the network.
Protecting your device from cryptocurrency mining malware
Protect your device from malware in general
Generally the same recommendations for avoiding other types of malware apply here, including keeping devices updated, employing antivirus software, and being careful about untrusted emails, attachments, and downloads. See our pages on Security Best Practices and Viruses for more details.
Notice when your device resource usage spikes
Be familiar with how to monitor resource usage on your devices. If your CPU usage is high even when you're not doing something resource intensive, your system might be cryptomining. In some cases you might even notice the device running warmer or the running louder than usual.
Dealing with cryptomining malware
Contact IMSS for help
If you believe your device is mining cryptocurrency disconnect it from the network. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Help Desk at x3500 or 626-395-3500 during business hours.