Technology Update for 2017

Seeing high CPU utilization? It may not be a fault with your computer.

Does your computer stutter when browsing certain websites? Does Windows Resource Monitor show high CPU utilization? Does your Mac’s Activity Monitor show your CPU being overutilized? Usually, these symptoms would indicate a computer issue that would need troubleshooting but that may no longer be the case.

Your computer could be being hijacked to mine cryptocurrency. This is referred to as cryptojacking.

An increasing number of websites are including currency mining threads that use your processor to mine for their gain. More advertising networks are being hacked to include cryptocurrency miners and more malware than ever before is now using your computer to generate revenue rather than destroy or impact your data.

Forget Bitcoin, Monero, Litecoins, Dogecoins and Feathercoin are the new kids on the block and everyone wants a piece of them.

How does cryptocurrency mining work?

Bitcoin and other digital currencies are purely theoretical. Nothing exists, no paper money, no coins, no accounts, nothing. Everything is controlled by ledgers. Those ledgers are maintained by the companies that run the currency. To protect the currency, every transaction is encrypted and as you know, encryption is very resource intensive.

To help the system work, the processing of ledgers and transactions is farmed out to other machines, such as your PC to process. Your CPU will be given an encrypted transaction to process and the tools with which to do it. Your processor completes the calculation and sends the result to the central ledger.

In consensual cryptocurrency mining, you are then paid a fixed amount per transaction. You can run these transactions persistently to mine cryptocurrency.

The trouble is, websites and malicious code are using our computers to mine cryptocurrency without our knowledge. We pay for the electricity and contend with a slow computer but get none of the benefit from it. According to the piece from Adguard linked above, 500 million computers are being used to mine cryptocurrency without their owners even being aware.

Some of the websites that feature cryptojacking code profess no knowledge of it. Given the anonymous nature of cryptocurrency, we have to take their word for it.

How to tell us a website uses cryptojacking code

There is a quick and easy way to tell if a particular website uses cryptojacking code. If your CPU utilization spikes on a particular website or page, go to a different page. If utilization drops, it is a good indication that it is cryptojacking you. You could also shut down your browser as a double check.

How to prevent cryptojacking

While not as dangerous as malware or a virus, cryptojacking is still using your computer for someone else’s gain. That is not acceptable and we need to do something about that.

Your first line of defense is an adblocker. As many types of cryptojacking code are served through infected ads, a good adblocker can stop them.

Next is a good quality malware scanner. Some types of cryptojacking code are delivered through malware and will not be detectable by an adblocker. If you see CPU utilization spike, run your scanner and remove anything it finds. If you still see high utilization, run your antivirus too, just in case.

Finally, there are some browser extensions emerging designed to block all manner of cryptojacking code. Extensions such as AntiMiner, NoCoin and MinerBlock are being tested to see if they can protect your computer.

Some websites are being up front about using cryptocurrency mining to help pay the bills. These sites we have no problem with and would suggest letting them use your computer to help keep the lights on. As more of us block ads to protect ourselves, this trend is likely to continue. If the website is honest, I see no issue with it. If they try to hide it, they deserve to be blocked.

Prerequisite Skills Needed in Every eCommerce Developer

Every single day, new businesses are entering the online segment providing the facility to people to order things by sitting at their home and receiving them at their doorstep. As more people are getting used to the online environment, the need for eCommerce stores is rising because supply has to cover up the demand. Needless to say, this prompted businesses, including retail, grocery or electronics to build up a downright online eCommerce store as a counterpart of their physical store which would successfully augment their earnings.

However, developing a robust online store isn’t an easy job. Even if you have a trusted eCommerce development team at your end, struggles are inevitable if you do not have enough competent developers who can well comprehend the significance of your business and features needed in the store. Take a look here at some of the most crucial and much-needed skills your hired eCommerce developer must have.

#1 Great hold on the various eCommerce platform

The first thing to count upon for hiring a developer for an eCommerce site is whether the developer has sound knowledge and immense feat on different platforms used for building the sites. Having great expertise on front-end, back-end, platform extensions and its custom themes, are imperative for development as it assists in creating a better version of custom-oriented websites.

#2 Knowledge of User-experience

It is always about captivating the customers and providing them highly appropriate and contextual information. A brand is incomplete without the customers and hence, user-experience is one of the top concerns. However, it is not an easy way to come up with a great user experience. The developer must have the inherent knowledge of UX as there are many things to be fixed. From deciding website navigation to designing menu tab, product filters to call-to-action buttons, checkout to sitemap and wireframes, all fall under the dominion of UX.

#3 Deftness in developing sites with Custom themes

The eCommerce developer you are engaging for your site should possess the skill of customisation so that they could customise the CMS in accordance with your requirement. This is a prior concern now for online business development because a decent website must carry a distinct design that will perfectly complement the brand and attract the potential number of customers.

#4 Front-end and Back-end development skills

While the above eCommerce skills are important in developers, back-end and front-end development skills are essential too. From creating CSS, Javascript, presentational HTML code in building a solid user-interface to backend development, all must be considered. Back-end development is about fixing up the architecture behind the website, which must be looked carefully to make it pleasing to the eyes of visitors.

#5 SEO aspects

Lastly, Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is the main pillar of an eCommerce site that drives the success. It is the SEO aspect that lets a website link appear on the top in search engines rankings. This is how others will know about your business, offerings, products or the brand. It is not only essential for getting sales but also putting your brand in a way so that search-engine crawlers can find it out at better when searched with relevant keywords.

On an obvious note, there are many other skills that developers must bear to successfully develop a downright online store, but these are the most crucial and innate skills. Thus, before partnering with an eCommerce development company for your online business venture, make it sure that its developers have got these skills to build a lucrative store.