NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – If your phone or laptop is responding slowly, there’s a chance it’s being used by someone else to make money on the web.

It’s called cryptomining.

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Believe it or not, you could be helping someone else earn digital currency, like Bitcoin, without even knowing it.

Laptops, phones, video game consoles, even smart appliances – the range of internet connected devices that can be hijacked is growing.

Often the goal is cryptomining, a legitimate, extremely complex process in which cryptocurrency transactions are verified, and the one who verifies the transaction earns cryptocurrency.

The problem is it requires a massive amount of computer power, which leads to cybercriminals stealing it from ordinary people. They do it by infecting your device with a cryptomining malware program.

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The malware and the power drain from cryptomining will slow down your device and make it behave strangely.

Hackers can also use it to steal data or infiltrate other devices on your network.

So how can you protect your devices from cryptomining?

Download an application like No Coin or Minerblock that block cryptomining activity. Make sure you have an antivirus program that’s up to date. Review the task manager or activity monitor on your laptop to identify any programs using an unusually large amount of computer power.

Especially with phones and other mobile devices, make sure your operating system is up to date so you have the latest security updates.

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