Cryptocurrencies are being unwittingly mined by the users of four popular video sites every month.
According to a report on the practice of the so called cryptojacking, the number of visitors in this case is almost one billion.
According to security firm Adguard, tokens for the bitcoin-like cryptocurrency Monero are being created as cryptocurrency mining software is being allegedly loaded into the computers of visitors to the video sites Openload, Streamango, Rapidvideo and OnlineVideoConverter.
“We came across several very popular websites that secretly use the resources of users’ devices for cryptocurrency mining,” said Andrey Meshlov, co-founder of Adguard.
“According to SimilarWeb, these four sites register 992m visits monthly.”
At the time when the video player is downloaded and is ready to stream a video, the users’ browsers are getting loaded with the mining program. After the loading the computers automatically start working hard towards generating Monero and the users are not notified about this uploading and are left completely in the dark.
Meshkov said: “The total monthly earnings from [this] cryptojacking, taking into account the current Monero rate, can reach $326,000. These are simply outrageous figures.”
The scope and reach of the mining programs and the cryptocurrency generation scope are enhanced as the video players are often embedded in other sites from where mining programs can get loaded easily when users visit or use such sites. This is an additional benefit that the video sites have in this matter.
Pieter Arntz, malware intelligence researcher at Malwarebytes.explains that because of the fact that Monero allows itself to be used for behind-the-scenes operation such as cryptojacking, therefore this cryptocurrency is being mined in this way instead of bitcoin. He said: “Monero mining does not depend on heavily specialised, application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), but can be done with any CPU or GPU. Without ASICs, it is almost pointless for an ordinary computer to participate in the mining process for Bitcoin.”
It becomes easier for developers to get away with cryptojacking because of the fact that it is faster to mine and confirm transactions with the use of Monero and this cryptocurrency is also untraceable.
There have been earlier instances too when websites have bene put to use for the mining of cryptocurrency on the computers of the visitors. Ghere were allegations of cryptojacking against the Pirate Bay ad US video streaming site Showtime in September following which the firms had said that they had been simply experimenting and their aim was to ultimately replace adverts wholesale.
“The popularity of cryptojacking has grown with alarming speed,” said Meshkov. “At the moment, the only real solution is to use an ad blocker, an antivirus or one of the specialised extensions to combat cryptojacking.”
This trend has sparked off debates about the need for installation of security protocols to block cryptojacking right into the various internet browsers themselves – including open-source browser that underpins Google’s Chrome browser – Chromium.
There were no comments available from Openload, Streamango, Rapidvideo and OnlineVideoConverter.
(Adapted from The Guardian)