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Popular video sites are using visitor PC resources for mining

by Mark Tyson on 14 December 2017, 11:01

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According to a new report published by AdGuard, publishers of specialised commercial ad blocking software, websites that commandeer your PC’s processing power are a rapidly growing issue. AdGuard gives the underhand practice of running scripts to mine on your PC the catchy name of ‘cryptojacking’. We have already heard of this method of earning revenue from website visotors, back in September, as The Pirate Bay admitted to trialling CoinHive on its torrents portal.

Since that time the practice, of what is now called cryptojacking, seems to have grown exponentially. AdGuard cites a figure of a billion people (per month) for the aggregated number of people who are having their processing power taxed in this way. Furthermore, the issue is growing fast. Thus a ‘war’ between ad blocking vendors and cryptojackers has broken out and of course AdGuard reckons its can remain ahead of its foes.

The four most ‘popular’ cryptojacking sites.

Openload hosts streaming video and operates a mirror for adult video streaming. Both of the sites are used by various portal sites to embed videos. It is noted that “under certain conditions” the Openload embedded media player will load up when users encounter mainstream video content. Meanwhile, the embedded adult video content player always loads up the cryptocurrency mining process. AdGuard estimates this practice generates about $95,000pcm for Openload from its 330 million monthly visitors.

Steammango has an estimated 42 million visitors per month. Its embedded player will always fire up a cryptocurrency miner. Rapidvideo gets about 60 million visits per month and runs a Coinhive clone called Coin-Have.

It’s not only the streaming sites that sneakily use your processing power this way. AdGuard reports that OnlineVideoConverter.com holds the record for earnings, at an estimated $200,000pcm revenue from its massive 490 million visitors per month. It is observed that “The mining script was run without warning on the page where a user landed after converting video or audio. The user could stay on this page all the time while the file was being downloaded, and they were likely to remain on this page for quite a long time.” Again a CoinHive clone is used, this time one called ‘Crypto-Loot’ designed with hidden use in mind.

Various ad blockers, anti-virus / anti malware, and internet security programs are being updated to reduce the underhand use of cyrptojacking scripts and apps.

HEXUS Forums :: 10 Comments

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I've noticed popular tech forums doing the same thing. Welcome to the new normal.
Like intrusive flash ads, I'm stunned at how companies feel these behaviours are acceptable. Then complain when everyone uses adblockers. uBlock origin and NoScript has made my browser much faster and more stable - you don't here the inexplicable whirr of the fans going wondering what is making the processor work that hard.
Shut up and go back to bed, Neo. Take the blue pill and go back to being a resource.
There's at least one plugin for a popular browser that fights these mining scrypts.

Wow, the internet is never easy, is it? Next it will be AI targeted social media.
Had to ruin a good idea.

For a lot of websites, if they asked for my consent first and limited it to a single thread, I'd let them run a miner for the duration of my visit. But too many websites are taking it too far, running it in background processes and at 100% load.