Websites using mining plugins to make users mine on their PCs

Browsers Mining Monero Crypto

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It seems mining real gold is easier than mining for Bitcoin, however, the low odds are not stopping miners to find new ways of “unearthing cryptocurrency”.

Software developers have even created plugins for websites that make the site’s visitors mine cryptocurrency without them even knowing. But now the question is asked how ethical is this? According to Blockchain.info to find the key and receive 25 newly generated bitcoins it takes on average 1,789,546,951.05 attempts. So why not have your website’s visitors do the labour for you?

Website Mining Scripts

Recently visitors to the popular premium cable and satellite television network Showtime, viewers started to notice that performance in their computers went down. When a number of people started complaining about spikes in their CPU usage it was revealed that Showtime is one of the websites using visitors computers to do Monero cryptocurrency mining.

Troy Mursch a security analyst was the person who discovered the malware allowing Showtime to mine using visitors PCs. The malware behind this unethical mining is called Coinhive. Coinhive uses the PC’s CPU to mine Monero cryptocurrency. Since this discovery, Showtime has completely removed the Coinhive plugin in order to save their reputation.

WordPress even allows website builders to add such plugins. Bitcoin Plus Miner is a plugin that does the exact same as Coinhive. The plugin’s description reads, “Make money by having your visitors mine bitcoin for you.”

Alternative Income

When the website owners and developers were asked about these plugins, a great number of them said that because of affiliate marketing and income from Adsense being not what it used to be, they had to resort to other means of generating income. This is understandable, but the unethical part of what is happening is that websites should be upfront about it since the visitors are doing all of the mining and not reaping any type of reward.

Because of this people are saying that they wouldn’t mind visiting websites and having the website mine cryptocurrency through their PCs they would just like to also benefit, like paying less on subscriptions or receiving additional content.

Monero Mining Rigs

For people who own an average low-performance computer, visiting a website that has cryptocurrency mining Javascript embedded on the site, it can steal all of the CPU’s resources. So how do they counter this? The best way is to use the browser Firefox and install one of these two add-ons, NoScript or QuickJava. This will disable mining when browsing websites.

Not taking into account that Showtime had visitors mining, the majority of sites who also do this are quite questionable to begin with. Because as mentioned making revenue is quite hard using normal methods, so questionable sites such as PirateBay had it hard from the start even before mining was implemented.

Explosive Growth

Coinhive, the malware that most websites use for mining was released on the 22nd of September 2017. In less than a month the unauthorized mining grew that according to analysts, one in every forty websites currently has their visitors’ mining cryptocurrency.

The growth of cryptocurrency mining is unreal and the extra income it brings in for websites make it clear that this will not stop soon. So people can start to expect that in the future when visiting a website a pop up will appear asking for your permission to have your PC mine cryptocurrency.

4 Replies to “Websites using mining plugins to make users mine on their PCs”

  1. What would happen if the script runs when I get to a website. Is it mallicious?

    1. No, it is not malicious. It just will use quite a bit of your CPU power

  2. I think it could really be helpful. None of us really like intrusive adds. If we can replace this with a bit of mining, where is the harm?

    1. Agreed. This was the whole purpose of the Coinhive miner. They wanted people to be able to offer an alternative way of making money that did not rely on those ads. I think it was a good move if I must be honest

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