Web browser crypto mining world

There are many websites that use the hardware on your phones and computers to mine cryptocurrency, which in turn could be very harmful for your devices. The worst part here is that there's no easy way to find out which website is harmful and which one is not, since many of them don't inform you that they use your device to mine cryptocurrency. Instead, all it requires is a few lines of code in Javascript that runs in the background while you browse the Web and then you could witness slow speeds on your system, reduced battery life and a significant damage to the overall life of the components. Don't worry though, we have got you covered. Follow this guide so that you can prevent websites from using your phone or computer hardware to mine cryptocurrency.

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WATCH RELATED VIDEO: CryptoTab Browser The World's First Bitcoin Mining Browser

Browser Cryptocurrency Mining

In the last months, we stumbled upon some JavaScript files apparently used to mine cryptocurrencies directly within the browser.

For a long time now, cybercriminals have taken advantage of cryptocurrency mining in order to make a profit. In this particular case, the mining is performed directly within the browser when the user browses to certain websites.

All that is needed is a browser with JavaScript activated, which is the default state of most browsers. This blogpost describes the research we performed in order to better understand this threat. We started digging into our telemetry and found that the threat was partially distributed using malvertising. This kind of CPU-intensive task is generally prohibited by the majority of ad networks because it substantially degrades the user experience.

It might seem counterintuitive to mine cryptocurrencies in the browser — we know that mining bitcoins requires a lot of CPU power — but the cybercriminals, as we will see later on, chose to mine cryptocurrencies that do not require custom hardware to mine effectively. Even though this kind of unwanted behavior can be used in any country, we noticed that this particular campaign was mostly impacting Russia and Ukraine.

Figure 1 shows the five main countries affected by this threat. It is important to note that this targeting is probably due to the language of the websites in which the scripts are injected, as we were able to access them from a US IP address.

Figure 2 shows the historical Cisco Umbrella Top 1M rank of one of the domains —reasedoper[. On June 28 th reasedoper[. Figure 2 — Rank of reasedoper[. Lower is more popular.

The idea of cryptocurrency mining in browsers is not something new. In , a group of MIT students founded a company called Tidbit, which offered a web service to mine Bitcoins. They finally reached a settlement , but had to abandon their project. Previously, several other services, such as bitp[. For example, the bitp[. The distribution method of this kind of script is a key point for determining if it is legitimate or unwanted. In this particular case, we were able to find two distinct ways users can be forced to execute these scripts: malvertising and a hardcoded snippet of JavaScript code.

Figure 3 shows the global distribution scheme of the mining scripts. The main distribution method of the mining scripts is malvertising. Generally, it consists of buying traffic from an ad network and distributing malicious JavaScript instead of a traditional advertisement. In this particular case, we are not sure if the injection of the script was intended or if listat[. However, listat[. Moreover, many suspicious domains have been registered with the same email address, including lmodr[.

The main websites that provided traffic to the mining scripts during July are shown in Figure 4. We notice that most are video streaming or in-browser gaming websites. This makes sense, since their users tend to spend more time on the same webpage while they watch a movie or play a game.

Additionally, such webpages would be expected to have a higher than normal CPU load, which would tend to mask the additional load from the mining script. Thus, it allows the mining scripts to run longer and use more computing power.

The site we observed with most malicious ad impressions, okino[. At the time of writing, it had an Alexa Rank of in Russia and in Ukraine. Some of the other websites also seem to be popular, being in the Alexa Top for Russia. Figure 5 — Okino[. Figure 6 — CPU consumption while visiting wotsite[. Figure 7 — Redirection chain from okino[. A search on PassiveTotal shows listat[. Thus, it seems that lmodr[. Surprisingly, we also noticed that moviead55[.

It is directly hosted on this website and can mine the ZCash cryptocurrency. It uses a pool, located on ws. However, we were not able to demonstrate similarities in the code with the scripts hosted on reasedoper[. We also found on Google Cache around sixty websites injected with much the same snippet of JavaScript shown in Figure The homepage of these websites injects a script from a script. This script calls URLs from various domains including static.

The analysis of these scripts is covered in the next section. We also noted that one of the other injected domains, listat[. A non-comprehensive list of affected domains is provided in the IOCs section. None of them seem to be well-known websites. Several scripts are hosted on static. The scripts with multi in their name are multithreaded while those with single use only one thread. They are the main JavaScript files that will launch the workers to mine different cryptocurrencies.

Figure 13 shows that Feathercoin , Litecoin and Monero can be mined using this script. However, it seems that they are currently not mining Litecoin.

Feathercoin and Litecoin are cryptocurrencies inspired by Bitcoin. The main difference is that they use different hash algorithms: neoscrypt and scrypt , respectively.

To mine them requires not only CPU power but also a large amount of memory. The last altcoin , Monero, is different from the other two. Its main feature is stronger privacy in comparison to Bitcoin. It is hard to trace transactions because the blockchain is not transparent. In particular, it uses ring signatures to hide the sender address among several possible sender addresses. It also generates a new public key for each transfer in order to hide the real receiver.

The hash algorithm used, cryptonight , also requires a lot of memory. Thus, it makes sense to choose this kind of altcoin for JavaScript mining on regular machines. As mining requires a lot of computing power, it is not surprising that the operator decided to use asm. Three of them are provided: scrypt. Finally, the Feathercoin wallet address is the same in all the scripts, while several different Monero addresses are used.

However, the same addresses are shared in several scripts; thus, we believe they all belong to the same group. As for Feathercoin, the address was not seen in the network. We are not sure of the reason for this, but it could be due to the use of a mining pool. A quick search on Google shows that this address has already been used for several years. What they described is very similar to what we have analysed and the Feathercoin address matches. At the time of that discovery, the mining script was hosted on minecrunch[.

Searching for this domain leads to a topic on cryptocurrencytalk. Regarding the performance, Kukunin explains:. The C Scrypt miner was compiled to Javascript by using Emscripten to achieve the best performance. The performance is about 1. This reinforces the link between the reasedoper[.

However, if the objective of MineCrunch was to propose an open service for distributed mining, the profits generated by reasedoper[. Despite the performance downgrade of using a JavaScript miner rather than a native program, the number of visitors received by the miner website probably allows them to make profits. In June, there was as many DNS lookups for reasedoper[. Even if it can be considered as an alternative to traditional ads, this behavior is unwanted when there is no user consent.

Thus, the developers of such services should advertise it clearly before starting mining, which is clearly not the case in a distribution scheme using malvertising. Finally, users can protect themselves against this kind of threat by having a well-configured ad blocker or script blocker add-on installed in their browser s. A potentially unsafe application , by enabling detection of Potentially UnSafe Apps.

Matthieu Faou. Figure 3 — Distribution scheme of the mining scripts. URL ; script. URL ;. Newsletter Submit. Similar Articles. Copy of reasedoper.

Sites Are Using Your Browser to Mine Crypto. It Could Be a Good Thing

Half a billion people are making monthly visits to websites that may be secretly hijacking the processing power of their computers to mine cryptocurrency, security researchers recently warned. Many of these sites contain torrents, videos or adult content, which keep users engaged for longer periods of time. When users visit these sites, scripts such as JSEcoin and CoinHive work in their browsers to verify blockchain transactions , which tend to require significant computational resources. While the sites mining cryptocurrency may not need to run online ads that annoy their visitors, there should still be some way to opt out or turn these scripts off. According to Bitcoin , the makers of Coinhive publicly asked those using its script to adopt a permission-based model, but it may be impossible to make such requests compulsory. In some cases, website operators might be just as surprised as their visitors. TechCrunch reported that PolitiFact, a fact-checking website, was running a script to mine cryptocurrency but has since removed it.

The increasing real-world significance of cryptocurrencies draws cybercriminal attention. Cryptocurrency mining was the most detected.


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Cryptocurrency Mining Websites Attract 500 Million Monthly Visitors, According to Report

web browser crypto mining world

We live in a digital age, with more people than ever doing most, if not all, their financial transactions and shopping online. With this also came the rise in cryptocurrencies. Unable to achieve this, Nakamoto instead developed a digital cash system that was based on the accuracy and transparency of accounts, balances, and recording of transactions to prevent double-spending. This innovative, global technology is becoming more widely-used and accepted each year.

Legitimate cryptomining programs ask users for permission to run.

Why bitcoin entrepreneurs are flocking to rural Texas

Bitdeer — a firm spun off from Chinese bitcoin mining giant Bitmain — is four-tenths of a mile down the road from Riot Blockchain , one of the biggest publicly traded mining companies in America. Both are tenants of property once occupied by aluminum maker Alcoa , but they share little else in common. Riot's Whinstone mine is run by a team that thrives on transparency and throws open its doors to media on a daily basis, while Bitdeer is aloof, steeped in mystery, and definitely not keen on visitors. Located an hour northeast of Austin, Rockdale looks like classic rural America. There are rolling hills, pastures of green grass, hay bales, a Walmart — which Mayor John King says is the main driver of sales tax, a key revenue stream for the city's annual budget. But to the more discerning eye, Rockdale offers all the fixings of a bitcoin miner's dream home: Crypto-friendly politicians, large swaths of land, previously abandoned industrial infrastructure ripe for repurposing, and the ability to plug into Texas' power grid.

Web-based cryptominers are malware

Iran has announced a four-month ban on the energy-consuming mining of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin after cities suffered unplanned blackouts. President Hassan Rouhani told a cabinet meeting the main cause of the blackouts was a drought that had affected hydro-electric power generation. An estimated 4. According to analytics firm Elliptic , the activity allows the country to bypass sanctions and earn hundreds of millions of dollars in crypto-assets that can be used to purchase imports. Iran's banks were cut off from the global financial system and its oil exports plummeted, depriving it of a major source of hard currency and revenue, as a result of sanctions reinstated by the US in when then President Donald Trump abandoned a landmark nuclear deal. Bitcoin operates on the blockchain, a digital ledger of transactions. Miners audit Bitcoin transactions in exchange for an opportunity to acquire the digital currency. It requires enormous computing power, which in turn uses huge amounts of electricity.

However, newer fileless malicious attacks, occurring through the browser on seemingly legitimate websites, can easily evade detection and surreptitiously engage.

As the value of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Monero skyrocketed last year, a more sinister trend came with it. Cybercriminals saw the opportunity to hijack unprotected computers to use their processing power to mine cryptocurrency — an activity that involves calculating extremely complex mathematical problems. First, we need to understand the nature of cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency mining malwares are designed to use the computing power of your PC or smartphone, to do someone else's work of finalizing transactions in cryptocurrencies. If you are a Google Chrome browser user, and you have been using a web browser extension called Archive Poster all this while, chances are your PC would have been hijacked without you even being aware of it, and used for mining cryptocurrencies. While this particular extension has now been removed from the Chrome web extensions and apps store, it was using a distributed-network cryptocurrency mining program called Coinhive and mining a currency called monero. Bitcoin mining is the process of authenticating and legitimizing bitcoin transactions done online, anywhere in the world.

In the last months, we stumbled upon some JavaScript files apparently used to mine cryptocurrencies directly within the browser.

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OSLO, Norway — January 22, — Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, have become a hot topic and, with their surge in value, so has the mining for new coins, known as cryptocurrency mining. The phenomenon is estimated to be affecting more than a billion people worldwide, causing their devices to run warm, become slower and eat up their batteries. Opera recently became the first major browser to add protection against cryptocurrency mining scripts to its desktop products. Today, Opera launches the feature in all its mobile browsers, protecting hundreds of millions of smartphone browser users.

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  1. Dar-El-Salam

    I liked your blog very much!

  2. Dobei

    It is remarkable, very good message

  3. Brara

    YES, that's for sure

  4. Michio

    Interesting article