Recently, there have been reports of different websites leveraging their user’s browsers to mine cryptocurrencies. Researchers at AdGuard decided to try and evaluate the scale and impact of this issue. They looked for CoinHive and JSEcoin code, the most popular browser mining solutions, within the Alexa top one hundred thousand websites list and discovered that 220 of those sites were using mining scripts. Those sites have an audience of approximately 500 million people from all over the world.
Although 220 sites may not seem significant, CoinHive was only launched on September 14th.
The researchers also found that most of the websites were pirate TV and video, torrenting, and adult sites. Based on this discovery, it is important to decide in the future whether or not cryptocurrency mining should be illegal. However, websites can ethically mine if they offer the user the option to opt out.
All the raw data collected during their research can be found here.
How do I protect myself?
There are multiple options users can take to prevent websites from abusing their CPU to mine for cryptocurrency:
- Install Adblockers: Ublock Origin, Adblock Plus, and AdGuard all now block cryptomining by default.
- Antivirus: The major AV vendors blacklist known mining scripts, and may give users the option to prevent or allow hidden mining.
- Install mining blocker browser extensions: AntiMiner, NoCoin, and MinerBlock can all be used to prevent browser mining.