500 Million People Are Vulnerable to In-Browser Cryptocurrency Mining – Report

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Cryptocurrencies have become the rage in the tech world as their values have risen exponentially in the last 7 years. For example 1 Bitcoin was valued at $0.08 in 2010 and at the time of writing this article, it has reached $5700, which is insane!

Since cryptocurrencies have become an alternative form of currency in today’s world, people have used it for payments, especially in the web. You can also get Bitcoin by ‘mining’ which involves setting up powerful computer hardware that do all the accounting work for the coin network and you get paid for that.

Lately, some websites have been spotted using a shady way to mine cryptocurrencies from unsuspecting people. They use Javascript scripts like Coin Hive to attack browsers which use your CPU power to mine cryptocurrencies and you can see how they can be quite successful.

Now according to AdGuard, this problem is actually worse than it looks. Apparently they did some research and found out 220 sites stated the mining process when a user opens their main page and the aggregated audience is a staggering 500 million!

It has been three weeks since browser crypto mining has gone viral thanks to the reports about Pirate Bay, Showtime and other websites in Kenya. In the last three weeks, AdGuard found out that there are other CoinHive clones like JSEcoin, CryptoLoot and MineMyTraffic which means that this problem will only become worse in the future.

Other bits of interesting information from the report include:

  • More than half of websites engaged in in-browser cryptocurrency mining scripts are focused on four countries: United States, India, Russia and Brazil.
  • These websites are estimated to have earned $43,000 in the last 3 weeks, which might not seem a lot but this was made at almost zero cost.
  • Over 57% of websites that use in-browser cryptocurrency mining belong to these 4 categories: TV/Video/Movies, File Sharing, Adult and News & Media.

It seems like it will be a good idea to maintain these handy tools that block these scripts that use your computer’s power to make money for a website.

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