It wasn’t too long ago that crypto currencies seemed to be an extremely viable method for investing—and even diversifying—your portfolio. But although digital asset prices have taken a tumble, the threat of cryptojacking has remained prevalent.

As anyone familiar with digital currency knows, cryptocurrencies work through a digital ledger called a blockchain, which can also be understood as a regularly updated database. Blockchains function according to a principle whereby every set of transactions is merged into a “block.” In order for cryptocurrencies to make new blocks, they need additional computing power that is provided by users of the cryptocurrency. The individuals that provide this power to the cryptocurrency, or cryptominers, are rewarded for this power by receiving mined crypto (Bitcoin is an excellent example of this). Crytpojacking takes advantage of this system

Cybercrimes are often executed through vulnerabilities in web browsers or extensions, and cryptojacking is no exception. It mines cryptocurrencies using malicious links or embedded Java Script code to commandeer a victim’s computer or smartphone. And while cryptojacking is not the most destructive cyber threat, it is certainly among the costliest. Cryptojacking can have many additional negative effects that include a noticeable increase in electricity consumption as well as aging a device’s software far beyond normal wear. What compounds these costs is the amount of time that cryptojacking can occur undetected; if you’re not careful, it can take up to several months to notice anything at all.

So, what should you be looking for? Here are some of the easiest tells:

  1. Slower System Performance: This is a fairly intuitive tell. The reason being that, if someone is hacking your device for their own uses, this will drain your battery, cause you system to run slowly, and in general cause it to exhibit poor performance
  1. Overheating: Like any piece of technology, your device has its limits. And when you’re being cryptojacked, it is more likely than not that your fans and other fail safes will be forced into excessive use. This can cause your device to suffer from damaged hardware or even a shortened lifespan.
  1. CPU Usage: If you notice that your device is having more trouble than usual processing sites with little-to-no media content, it’s possible that cryptojacking could be to blame. The good news is that there is an easy way to check: Utilize the Activity Monitor and/or Task Manager on your device to view your central processing unit (CPU) usage