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Bitcoin Businesses Communications Software The Almighty Buck The Internet

Over 500 Million PCs Are Secretly Mining Cryptocurrency, Researchers Reveal (newsweek.com) 78

Ad blocking firm AdGuard has found that over 500 million people are inadvertently mining cryptocurrencies through their computers after visiting websites that are running background mining software. The company found 220 popular websites with an aggregated audience of half a billion people use so-called crypto-mining scripts when a user opens their main page. Newsweek reports: The mining tool works by hijacking a computer's central processing unit (CPU), commonly referred to as "the brains" of a computer. Using part of a computer's CPU to mine bitcoin effects the machine's overall performance and will slow it down by using up processing power. The researchers found that bitcoin browser mining is mostly found on websites "with a shady reputation" due to the trouble such sites have with earning revenue through advertising. However, in the future it could become a legitimate and ethical way of making money if the website requests the permission of the visitor first.

"220 sites may not seem like a lot," the researchers wrote in a blogpost detailing their discovery. "But CoinHive was launched less than one month ago on September 14. The growth has been extremely rapid: from nearly zero to .22 percent of Alexa's top 100,000 websites. "This analysis well illustrates the whole web, so it's safe to say that one of every forty websites currently mines cryptocurrency (namely Monero) in the browsers their users employ."

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Over 500 Million PCs Are Secretly Mining Cryptocurrency, Researchers Reveal

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  • Follow the "raw research data" link from the original blog post, https://blog.adguard.com/en/cr... [adguard.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The mining tool works by hijacking a computer's central processing unit (CPU), commonly referred to as "the brains" of a computer

    Jesus mother fucking Christ bouncing on an inverted mother fucking pogo stick, are you seriously including shit like this in what you choose to reference in the goddamned mother fucking summary?

    BeauHD, if you're so goddamned fucking stupid that you need to point to articles which have this drivel, and include it here on Slashdot ... you're not fucking qualified to post fucking art

    • It was a direct quote from the Newsweek article, which was presumably aimed at Newsweek readers rather than Slashot readers. Can't blame BeauHD for its inclusion in the original.

      Of course, perhaps the summary could've been better edited, so as not to upset the sensibilities of certain Slashdot readers. However, then again, why would the editors (or the rest of us, for that matter) take into account the sensibilities of someone who (1) is an Anonymous Coward and (2) seems to be unable to communicate witho
    • TL;DR

      1. People are a problem.
      2. Fuck the fucking fuckers.

  • by Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) on Friday October 13, 2017 @09:02PM (#55366417) Homepage

    The mining tool works by hijacking a computer's central processing unit (CPU), commonly referred to as "the brains" of a computer

    Wow, that's amazing! Who would have thought of carrying out an attack in this manner!

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Friday October 13, 2017 @09:20PM (#55366463) Journal
    The CPU is commonly known as the brains of the computer..

    Gee, none of us here knew that. Thanks a lot Sherlock, for that amazing piece of information!

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      A view mine as my dick.

      Pretty much useless and dysfunctional, no-one would want it as theirs. (AMD Phenom X4 9850.)

  • by pepsikid ( 2226416 ) on Friday October 13, 2017 @09:39PM (#55366527)

    Let's get down to brass tacks: How do I stop the bitminer? Can't I just close the web page? Or do I need to close the whole browser? Does the miner start up again when I relaunch my browser? I've been watching Firefox hog 4/5th of my PC's resources, with chronic pauses ("the browser has stopped responding") so bad that I can't switch tabs and even animated gifs freeze. Other programs run like nothing's going on. It gets worse and worse as the day goes on. Every add-on disabled. I visit one of these affected websites a couple times a week.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      How do I stop the bitminer?

      Do not run javascript by default.

    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @12:46AM (#55366965) Journal

      Let's get down to brass tacks: How do I stop the bitminer? Can't I just close the web page? Or do I need to close the whole browser? Does the miner start up again when I relaunch my browser?

      Once the bitminer starts, the only way to stop it is to remove the CPU (brains) from the motherboard, carefully remove the thermal paste, and soak it in a solution of one part vinegar and one part Listerine (the generic Listerine also works). Leave it overnight and by morning, you should be good to go. To be safe, I'd wipe down all the internal parts with the solution, too. And, it'll leave your PC minty fresh!

      • Listerine also kills the computer viruses that can cause bad breath. It was developed in the early 60s and is based on Lisp which stands for LISt Processing, hence the list in Listerine.

    • by h33t l4x0r ( 4107715 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @02:28AM (#55367095)
      I've said it before and I'll say it again:
      cat >> /etc/hosts (or equivalent)
      127.0.0.1 coin-hive.com
      127.0.0.1 www.coin-hive.com
      ^D

      I have no problems with coinhive, they are getting rich as fuck and good for them, but not on my dime.
      • then you just have to run your own coin-hive.com server locally on your host, clever!
        • Better yet, create a public wifi hotspot the rewrites the coinhive api key to your own and watch that shit make some fucking moolah, was the first thing that came to my mind.
    • I've been watching Firefox hog 4/5th of my PC's resources, with chronic pauses ("the browser has stopped responding") so bad that I can't switch tabs and even animated gifs freeze. Other programs run like nothing's going on. It gets worse and worse as the day goes on. Every add-on disabled.

      This is just Firefox under normal usage - nothing wrong here.

  • So... rampant abuse of the unsuspecting public -- which, one could argue, *should* generate a bit of outrage here.. ...and y'all are busy outraging about what a shoddy article was used to make this summary?!

    C'mon guys. Get with it! So what if the summary is crap -- the message is this shit (the cryptomining) is spreading like wildfire. That's where the outrage should be!

  • The effect is quite audible on my macbook pro. If I visit thepiratebay results page and disable adblock plus, the fans noise up from zero to the top speed in 30 seconds. Firefox CPU usage jumps to 25%. This stops as soon as the web page is closed, of course.

  • Since microtransactions are too expensive (due to high transaction fees) on many cryptocurrency networks, it makes sense that free websites would just have the visitor do some mining instead. Instead of say 2 satoshis to view an article on Wall Street Journal, you just donate a certain number of hashes (total, not per second) per article.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Honestly, this seems preferable to me to being bombarded with ads on some website.

    But let's be honest here - no site that assaults you with a ton of ads is going to switch over to having the visitors mine coins - they're just going to add that the list of things they use to make money, along with the ads.

    • I can see ad slingers adding mining "functionality" as well. Without a decent ad blocker, thing slow to a crawl anyway, so I wouldn't be surprised if mining software was stuffed in somewhere.

  • " 2.2 percent of Alexa's top 100,000 websites."

    Uh, 2.2% of 100000 is 2200, not 220. So, should it be top 10,000, or what?
  • Those numbers are based on total monthly traffic stats. Only a small number of this "total" users are affected.
  • by zifn4b ( 1040588 ) on Saturday October 14, 2017 @06:59AM (#55367541)

    The mining tool works by hijacking a computer's central processing unit (CPU), commonly referred to as "the brains" of a computer.

    Idiocracy, here we come. I suspect we'll have to start talking in 3rd grade language when Kid Rock is president.

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