Politifact Found to Contain Codes Used to Mine Cryptocurrencies

In recent days, internet users have found that visiting some websites could result in significant spike in CPU usage as these sites were using visitors’ CPU to mine cryptocurrencies. First the popular torrent site, The Pirate Bay used the codes to mine cryptocurrencies. And now, recent reports have revealed that hackers have targetd popular fact-checking website Politifact for cryptomining.

The latest issue comes thanks to security researcher Troy Mursch who noticed that visiting the site would result in significant spikes in CPU usage. Later, a report by The Register pointed out that the Javascript code on the website contained part of CoinHive miner code inside the regular JavaScript which allowed multiple versions of CoinHive to run simultaneously. However, Politifact stated to The Register that they were not aware of the mining software and is currently investigating the issue. Following the discovery, the site has removed the mining code from the site.

In a recent report, popular Adblocking software AdGuard revealed that it had found more than 220 sites are currently using CoinHive code or another Javascript based Cryptocurrency miner code.

The firm said, “220 sites may not seem like a lot. But CoinHive was launched less than one month ago, on the 14th of September, The problem with in-browser mining is not that it’s a bad thing by itself. There are no good and bad tools and technologies, but there are good and bad ways to use them.”

“Actually, such a practice could make mining even more ethical than ads. After all, nobody asks us if we would like to see ads on a website Mining parasitizes the user’s CPU, where ads parasitize the user’s attention, emotions, bandwidth, and often, their laptop or smartphone battery, and supports an industry of personal data harvesting that is a big headache in itself.”

“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. However, we believe that it is very hard for them to force this recommendation into action; for example, they cannot forbid stealth mining.”

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons

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