Crypto Scripts

Cryptoscripts

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Recently it was discovered that large media company websites were secretly running crypto mining software scripts on them to mine Bitcoin and/or other crypto currencies without the knowledge of their visitors.

Unlike 3rd party cloud mining for cryptos, crypto scripts could be considered a form of malware if they are running on your browser without your knowledge.

Showtime’s website was one of them. What happens is that a cryptocurrency mining script uses the CPU power of the visitors’ computers (PC or Mac) to do the heavy lifting to run Blockchain cryptography calculations, which require intense computational power and use a lot of electricity.

Crypto Mining Software

An open source JavaScript crypto miner called CoinHive is available if you want to embed it in your website to use your visitors’ CPU power to mine a cryptocurrency called Monero. There is also a WordPress plugin that uses CoinHive called WP Monero that you can install on your WordPress site to mine Monero using your visitors CPUs.

How to Block Crypto Mining Software

If you think your computer is running slowly for no reason, it’s possible that you have a script running on your computer that is mining a cryptocurrency. While malicious crypto scripts are relatively new, Malwarebytes reports that they are blocking 5,000,000+ attempts by their customers’ computers to connect to CoinHive every day. As such, you could be infected.

Here are three things you can do to try to stop the mining on your computer:

  1. If you use Google Chrome, Google offers a Coin Hive blocker add on.
  2. Also, here is a link to instructions for using free versions of Malwarebytes, HitmanPro and Emsisoft Emergency Kit to remove malicious software such as crypto scripts.  I have not heard of HitmanPro or Emsisoft Emergency Kit, but Malwarebytes is probably legit as they advertise on NPR all the time.
  3. Uninstall your browser software and reinstall it. When it’s reinstalled, make sure to reset your browser to its default settings and that these are enabled.

Malvertising vs. Legit Online Ad Alternatives

People hate online ads. They’ve gotten worse with companies like Taboola that show visceral images of fleshy gooey things and half naked people with headlines like “The cameraman just kept rolling…!” to entice us even more to make the next click.

But what about a legitimate, transparent use of crypto mining software that operated on a rev share model? Would people prefer that they use their CPUs to mine crypto instead of having to look at Taboola? Stranger things have happened.