Photo Credit: AdGuard
A new report has claimed that several websites are targeting visitors to mine cryptocurrency without user consent through in-browser mining scripts. AdGuard, the adblocker tool to get rid of ads and online tracking, has come out with its report that claims 2.2 percent of top one hundred thousand websites use cryptocurrency mining. The report claims that more than a half of the websites engaged in using in-browser cryptocurrency mining scripts focus on four countries: the US, India, Russia, and Brazil. The report has ranked India as the second most targeted country for cryptocurrency mining.
It further adds that through cryptocurrency mining, these websites are targeting an aggregated audience of 500 million people. Other countries that are targeted by mining include China, South American and European countries, and Iran among others. AdGuard started off its research with the top one hundred thousand websites listed on Alexa and looked for codes like CoinHive and JSEcoin, which are said to be popular solutions for browser mining currently in use.
"The growth has been extremely rapid: from nearly zero to 2.2 percent of Alexa's top 100,000 websites. This analysis well illustrates the whole Web, so it's safe to say that one of every forty websites currently mines cryptocurrency (namely Monero) in the browsers their users employ," the report points out.
AdGuard estimates that the websites through mining generated overall $43,000 in three weeks. It also claimed that over 57 percent of the websites that utilise in-browser cryptocurrency mining belong to four categories: TV/ Video/ Movies, File Sharing (mostly Torrents), Adult, and News/ Media. "Porn sites have always been early adopters; a lot of new tech solutions were actually invented by porn site developers and later copied by other webmasters," the report adds.
The report also talks about how the most popular torrent search engine, The Pirate Bay, used CoinHive for mining and later this was discovered on other sites like Showtime.com and Showmeanytime.com among others. AdGuard also adds that the CoinHive team has issued a statement calling on website operators to inform their users about the mining operations and to ask for user permission to do this. We, however, doubt that this will be put in practice. The report also suggests users to utilise ad-blocker programs, antivirus programs, and mining blocker extensions to safeguard from cryptocurrency mining.