Over 500 Million Users Mine Bitcoin Without Knowing It
The ad blocking firm AdGuard published a report that found up to 500 million users were visiting websites that ran background cryptocurrency mining software. AdGuard identified 220 popular websites that ran the crypto-mining scripts. Machines that visited these sits had their processing unit hijacked and used to mine bitcoin, which has generated an estimated $43,000 for the website hosts in the three weeks these scripts have been active, with little to no cost. While users were effected all over the world, the majority of users were from the United States (18.66%), followed by India, Russia, and Brazil (13.4%, 12.44%, 8.13%, respectively). 57% of the websites that utilized in-browser cryptocurrency mining consist of four major categories: TV/Movies (22.27%), File Sharing (17%), Adult (10%), and News/Media (7.73%).
There are major ethical issues that arise when websites begin using visitors computer power to generate revenue without informing them. It is difficult to monitor whether or not a website is deploying stealth mining, and therefore becomes difficult to regulate that websites that partake in the practice request permission from users.
Should websites have to ask for permission to use your computer for crypto-mining? How would you feel about websites using this to replace revenue generated from advertisements? Would that be better or worse?