Security

How to file a cryptojacking complaint with the FTC

The US Federal Trade Commission wants to know if you've fallen victim to a malicious website that uses your computer to mine cryptocurrency. Here's how to let them know.

In a hurry? Here's a quick rundown of the steps for petitioning the FTC about cryptojacking:
  1. Head over to www.ftc.gov/complaint.
  2. Scroll down and look for the complaint categories. Select Internet Services, Online Shopping, or Computers.
  3. On the page that appears click on the third option, Computers.
  4. Fill in all the applicable information and submit your form.

One of the fastest growing trends in cybercrime is cryptojacking, which involves a malicious website using a script to use your computer's processor to mine cryptocurrency that the site's controllers profit from.

It's sneaky, it can damage hardware, and in many cases you may not even know you've been hit with an attack. Not all cryptomining on websites is malicious—some sites will even ask your permission to mine on your hardware in exchange for eliminating advertisements.

When someone does it without telling you that's a whole other story, and it's one the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is interested in knowing about. "While the scammer cashes out, your device may slow down, burn through battery power, or crash," The FTC said.

How to to file an FTC cryptojacking complaint

The process for submitting an FTC complaint about cryptojacking can look complicated at first glance, but don't worry: It's quite simple.

Head over to www.ftc.gov/complaint. Once there you'll see a list of categories to choose from. Click on Internet Services, Online Shopping, or Computers (Figure A).

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Figure A

Image: Brandon Vigliarolo/TechRepublic

A new screen will appear to the right of the categories menu. Pick the third option, Computers (Figure B).

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Figure B

Image: Brandon Vigliarolo/TechRepublic

The FTC Complaint Assistant will open (Figure C), and here's where things start looking overwhelming. The six steps indicated at the top each contain a lot of information that you may not know, like details about the company whose website you visited. Don't worry—you only need to fill in the portions that are applicable to you. Look over all six steps to be sure you're including all relevant details, but if you need to leave something blank it's okay.

3.png

Figure C

Image: Brandon Vigliarolo/TechRepublic

Once you've filled everything in and are on step six (Figure D) review your information and click Submit, and you're all done.

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Figure D

Image: Brandon Vigliarolo/TechRepublic


SEE: Quick glossary: Malware (Tech Pro Research)

You may or may not hear back from the FTC, so don't be surprised if they don't respond.

In the meantime, protect yourself against cryptojacking by not visiting malicious sites, blocking scripts in your web browser, and watching what you download and install.

Also see

About Brandon Vigliarolo

Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.

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