You may be mining cryptocurrencies for fraudsters while watching online videos

Doris Richards
December 14, 2017

Popular video streaming sites have a secret embedded code that mines cryptocurrencies through visitors' computers.

The video sites Openload, Streamango, Rapidvideo and OnlineVideoConverter are allegedly loading mining software on to visitors' computers, making them generate tokens for the bitcoin-like cryptocurrency Monero, according to security firm Adguard. In a Guardian report, Adguard co-founder Andrey Meshkov said that "The total monthly earnings from [this] cryptojacking, taking into account the current Monero rate, can reach $326,000". "These are simply outrageous figures", Meshkov added.

With the value of digital currencies skyrocketing in recent weeks - Monero, for one, leapt from $90 to $300 apiece in about a month - covert methods of generating the crypto-wonga have become ever more popular. Security researchers have now revealed that up to 1 billion users of streaming services may have been victims of cryptojacking.

In fact, Adguard says that the site's operators may not even know what is happening.

According to AdGuard, the massive Monero-mining operation was discovered when ad-blocking plugin developer was fine-tuning its ad blockers to catch and block sites that attempt to hijack web surfers' spare CPU cycles for mining. "At the moment, the only real solution is to use an ad blocker, an antivirus or one of the specialised extensions to combat cryptojacking". The epidemic that first made it to the headlines thanks to ThePirateBay appears to have grown at an alarming speed.

However, cryptojacking was not a new phenomenon.

The BBC also reported yesterday that a Starbucks in Buenos Aires had its wifi hacked to load Monero mining software onto the devices of customers who connected to load it.

And back in October, The Pirate Bay was hasrhly criticised harshly for carrying out cryptocurrency mining schemes without user content. In September, the Pirate Bay ad U.S. video streaming site Showtime were discovered to have performed cryptojacking, with the former declaring that it was just an experiment with a view to replacing adverts wholesale.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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