Come for the free movies, stay to dig Monero for a stranger
Security experts claim four extremely popular video-streaming websites have been secretly loaded with crypto-currency-crafting code.
According to AdGuard, the massive Monero-mining operation was discovered when ad-blocking plugin developer was fine-tuning its ad blockers to catch and block sites that attempt to hijack web surfers’ spare CPU cycles for mining.
“While analyzing the first complaints, we came across several VERY popular websites that secretly use the resources of users’ devices for cryptocurrency mining,” AdGuard cofounder Andrey Meshkov explained this week.
“According to SimilarWeb, these four sites register 992 million visits monthly. And the total monthly earnings from crypto-jacking, taking into account the current Monero rate, can reach $326,124.85.”
AdGuard says the sites – openload, Streamango, Rapidvideo, and OnlineVideoConverter – are often linked for other pages as embedded players, increasing their reach over hundreds of millions of visitors.
“We doubt that all the owners of these sites are aware that the hidden mining has been built in to these players,” noted Meshkov, meaning the servers may have been hacked to inject the mining code into browsers.