September 28, 2017

SHAMELESS: Showtime websites secretly mined user CPU for cryptocurrency.

The crypto mining Javascript is called Coinhive, and according to the site, it was made as an alternative to banner ads as a way for website owners to get around pesky ad-blockers. Ironically, some ad-blockers have now included Coinhive on the list of the banned.

The script mines the cryptocurrency known as Monero. Launched in April 2014, Monero is meant to be a more anonymous version of Bitcoin because you can purchase it offline with cash. Thirty percent of the proceeds go to Coinhive, while sites using the service, like Showtime and The Pirate Bay, keep the rest. For its part, The Pirate Bay has apologized for secretly running the script and then asked its users if they preferred ads or CPU mining. Surprisingly, many of the comments indicate a positive reception towards the idea.

Coinhive updated its site to include the statement: “We’re a bit saddened to see that some of our customers integrate Coinhive into their pages without disclosing to their users what’s going on, let alone asking for their permission.” Going forward, the service claims that it will now ask people browsing a site for permission before mining their CPU. Showtime declined to comment.

I’m not sure this is any worse than video ads which also hog your CPU and get in your face.

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