There’s a cryptocurrency goldrush on at the moment. People are investing insane sums, and also making good money -- Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin are all doing phenomenally well.
However, some sites are turning to mining cryptocurrency as a way to supplement falling ad revenue, and a new report from security firm Adguard has found that almost a billion monthly visitors to four popular streaming sites have unknowingly been mining Monero currency while watching videos.
Crypto-jacking -- secretly using your device to mine cryptocurrency in the background -- is a growing problem, and one that often bypasses adblockers.
Adguard found four video sites, with a combined total of 992 million monthly visits, were mining for Monero without their user’s knowledge. These sites are Openload -- one of the most popular streaming sites in the world -- Streamango, Rapidvideo and OnlineVideoConverter.
According to Adguard, OnlineVideoConverter "holds the absolute record among crypto-jackers at the moment" as the site is ranked 119th in the world, with almost 490 million visits a month.
Adguard sums up its worrying findings saying:
The popularity of crypto-jacking has grown with alarming speed. Just think about it; we are talking about billions of visits, and it has been just a few months since this problem first appeared. It's like an epidemic, and it is unclear when it will stop or even slow down.
At the moment, the only real solution is to use an ad blocker, an antivirus or one of the specialized extensions to combat crypto-jacking. Unfortunately, not all users know about the problem or want to use such software. The only way to completely close the issue of browser-based mining is to implement security mechanisms at the browser level. For example, Chrome developers are now discussing the possibility of such a solution. We hope it will be implemented as soon as possible.