Last week, The Pirate Bay tested a controversial new method of funding itself by using its visitors’ hardware to mine cryptocurrency. Now coined in some places as “cryptojacking”, the practice has unfortunately caught on quick, as Showtime has adopted the technique without its users’ consent.
In an attempt to rid itself of questionable advertisements, The Pirate Bay implemented a new CPU-based mining service called CoinHive that allows the site to use its visitors’ processors to mine cryptocurrency such as Minero on its behalf. This experiment yielded great results, however many remained divided on the morality of it due to the site not being as forthright as it could have been, as well as the power demonstrated by the site when an error in code led to full, uncapped CPU usage.
Multiple sources have since claimed to have found CoinHive code on Showtime’s website, beginning with Twitter user SkensNet, who suggested that the site might have been hacked for the code to have ended up there. The code has promptly been removed since sources have pointed it out, but Showtime has yet to respond in an official capacity beyond a “no comment” to Gizmodo reporters.
CoinHive has stated that it is against all unauthorised uses of its tool, however the functionality of the service is sure to be abused. This is likely only the beginning of what’s to come regarding sites using visitors’ CPUs to earn extra cash, so it is recommended that you keep an eye on your processor’s usage even when browsing sites. Fortunately, Adblock Plus potentially has you covered with a new feature in its plugin allowing to block services like CoinHive.
KitGuru Says: I am all of alternative methods of revenue, especially if it is in favour of removing intrusive or irrelevant advertisements but sites have to be upfront about intentions before invading users’ hardware. What do you think of cryptojacking and the idea of sites using your PC to mine for extra cash?