Websites using your CPU to gain Monero currency

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Throughout the past several weeks, an increasing number of sites and applications have been reported to use a JavaScript code called CoinHive in order to mine Monero through their visitors’/users’ computers. The latest instance of a sites using this method comes from two Showtime domains: showtime.com and showtimeanytime.com.

How does it work?

When the CoinHive script is added to the site’s code, each visitor would have their computer forced to use its CPU for Monero mining throughout the duration of the site’s visit. The main issue with that is the fact that the CPU usage caused by the CoinHive script would go over the roof during the mining process and the whole computer would get severely slowed-down. The visitor gains nothing from that apart from a temporarily slowed-down PC and the site’s owners receive the mined currency.

Monero is a cryptocurrency similar to the infamous Bitcoins and a lot of hackers seem to be implementing the CoinHive script in order to mine Monero through the PCs of other users. This sort of practice is nothing new but in this case, there is no need for a virus to infect the targeted customer’s computer. Instead, as soon as they visit a site or download a piece of software that has the script, the mining would commence at the cost of high CPU usage.

Experiment or hackers?

So far, it is unclear whether the two Showtime domains have been attacked by hackers or if all of this is simply an experiment. The developers haven’t made a statement yet regarding the CoinHive script that has been added to the code of their sites. One peculiar thing to note about this instance of Monero mining is that only in 3% of all cases a visitor to the Showtime’s sites would actually have their machine forced to mine for Monero. This has lead researchers to assume that the CoinHive script hasn’t been added by hackers and that all this is done as an experiment. Something similar occurred a a couple of weeks ago when the same sort of code was added to PirateBay – the biggest torrent site on the Internet. Users who were visiting it had their machines turned into mining tools and the currency generated by their CPUs was send to the owners of PirateBay. The idea behind this new method of gaining revenue was that instead of showing ads on the site’s pages, the owners would support themselves financially through Monero mining.

In the case of Showtime’s websites, if a hacker were to add the mining script for personal gain, they would make it so that a high percentage of the visitors would have their machines forced to mine for the cyber-currency so that by the time the attack gets revealed, a greater amount of money would be generated. Instead, as we said, only 3% of the PCs are tasked with the mining process.

CoinHive gaining popularity

The JavaScript that allows developers to mine Monero through the devices of their customers was introduced a mere twelve days ago, yet, since then, it has been quickly gaining popularity, especially among hackers, Adware developers or creators of other forms of undesirable software. More and more instances of applications and sites that have the CoinHive script in them are starting to show up. Installing a program that has CoinHive in it can drastically reduce the productivity and worsen the performance of your machine and you might even not know what is causing it. Therefore, try to avoid shady applications and frequently check your Task Manager for processes that consume way more system resources than they should. The same applies for websites that seem to make your computer run slower without an apparent reason.

Blocking CoinHive

Currently, there are two popular ad-blocker programs that support protection against the CoinHive script. Those are AdGuard and AdBlock Plus. Therefore, if you want to get some protection against this unpleasant Monero mining scheme, you might want to check those out. We will make sure to keep you updated with any news regarding the CoinHive script so that you would be well-informed about it.

 

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