“You may not know what your computer is using for cryptocurrency mining”

“Perhaps, you do not even know it, but there is a probability that one of the sites which you visited by means of the browser today perhaps, used your phone or a notebook for cryptocurrency mining”.

Each cryptocurrency uses blockchain technology on the basis. The blockchain is a register in which all new transactions called by units register. Every time when on a network the new unit is found, miners compete with each other and, using the concept of the proof of execution of the operation, try to solve it. As an award for the decision, the cryptocurrency is paid to miners. Therefore mining of Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency requires computing power.

When Bitcoin was launched in 2009, the first miners could get it using the computing power of the working desktop personal computer or a notebook. But as a large number of miners joined this network, and they had more powerful processors. At some point production of Bitcoin on home desktop computers stopped being favourable. Instead of them, the specialized chips called by ASIC began to gain popularity.

Such specialized chips, as a rule, cost much and require bigger energy consumption. Therefore, cryptocurrency mining becomes more expensive from the point of view of energy consumption. This problem also led to a new dilemma: how to receive even more processors for an increase in computing power for mining.

Dawn of browser mining

As the strategy of monetization of the website some developers decided to use the computing power of your device for cryptocurrency mining. On some websites, the JavaScript code which allows the owner of the website to launch certain programs without notice of the user is implemented now. However, not all cryptocurrencies can successfully is mined thus, especially on less powerful devices. For example, Monero one of the most popular cryptocurrencies incompatible with ASIC chips is also completely optimized for mining on central and graphics processors. The process of mining of Monero rather fast and simple also does not require the use of the selected computing power.

In September 2017 it was reported that websites of Shownet secretly use the user CPU for production of cryptocurrencies. On the websites, the JavaScript code for cryptocurrencies, known as Coinhive was used. Coinhive was developed as the decision for websites to monetize their content without advertising use and also to guarantee that income will not be compromised. However, according to experts in the field of technologies, exists several agencies abusing it and extracting Monero on the user devices without their permission.

Advantages and cost of browser mining

Karl Sigler, one of the experts in the technical safety of the Chicago’s Trustwave company, notified:

“Such crypto fraud can increase the electrical score of certain users by 3-5 US dollars a month, just because of visiting the website on which the cryptocurrency mining script is posted. The gain in the cost of the score for an electricity can seem not really big, but when we speak about the large organizations or large enterprises which, use 100 — 1000 computers and if they get on the website with a script for cryptocurrency mining, then the score for an electricity can strongly increase”.

Besides, such script for mining launched in the browser can exhaust the battery, even in the background. Actually, the code steals your computing power of the processor, for production of digital currency in favour of those who own the website.

Certainly, there are also potential advantages in case of browser mining. So, the Baire of Kessels claims that if to make optimization of such diagram of mining, it can become more desirable, than classical advertising which besides can compromise your confidentiality transferring your data for large corporations. Salon — the latest media website which uses a script for mining of Coinhive which gives to users a choice: to disconnect the program a disabler of advertising or a script for the production of Monero.

According to Kessels, browsers, similar to Brave, miss a huge possibility of browser mining by the lock of scripts of similar Coinhive. The Brave browser in case of web browsing uses the principle “to lock everything” which locks all advertising, pop-up windows, windows the requesting donations, gives the chance free of charge to receive content from the websites, such as Netflix, the way of provision of your computing power.

In spite of the fact that Kessels supports the development of browser mining, he says that the best way forward — the lock of malefactors without the consent of the user and tight to cooperate with such companies as Coinhive, “for improvement initiatives for honest and friendly cases of use”.

There are methods to learn whether your device for cryptocurrency mining without your permission is used. But, as shows the Bail Bloc resource, browser mining will be used most likely further, and therefore it is impossible to allow compromises of legitimate methods of browser mining because of messages that all cases of such mining are “illegal”.


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