Report: 500 million PCs silently mining crypto currencies without user's consent

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Ad blocker developer AdGuard writes on its blog that more than half a billion PCs are mining crypto coins without the user’s consent. The company released a report about the scale and impact of hidden cryptocurrency mining in the browser after it was in the news that some sites make money by abusing the computers of their visitors this way.

[quote]Ad blocker developer AdGuard writes on its blog that more than half a billion PCs are mining crypto coins without the user’s consent.[/quote]So this was a adblocker doing and still people are using their software? Why am I not surprised they would finally turn to this tactic? As before I mentioned once they forced to let ads come through it wouldn’t be long before malicious ads would make it in and now it has.

[quote]Although the method to generate revenue through crypto coin mining in the browser is relatively new, many antivirus software product and ad blockers have added protection against it.[/quote]Really protection against it I think it was “no” protection against it-this sounds more plausible to me. This is the reason I don’t use adblock plugins they are compromised now and will be forever with this malware. Sounds like adblock themselves have become a malware highway.

I think you might have misread something. AdGaurd doesn’t seem to be directly involved in this scheme, although they did detect these scripts somehow, presumably by either collecting data from their own users, or by browsing various websites to test various filters.

The article mentioned AdGaurd adding protection from these CryptoCurrency mining scripts, so it seems they are protecting their users.

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I seen to many software say they but do they? There is no one to verify it though? Lot’s of time it’s we thought we protect “us” ahem you from those attacks before we tell you.

These claims aren’t the easiest to verify, but at the very least the filterlists are in plain text, so you can probably do some verification. The hard part would be figuring out which filters (supposedly) correspond to the crypto-mining scripts, and then figuring out if those scripts actually do force your computer to crypto-mine.

In any case, if anyone feels like they need to do something to protect themselves (you probably should), consider either disabling JavaScript, or installing an add-on like LibreJS or NoScript, both of which give you control over which scripts get executed on your machine. Systematically blocking scripts is probably the most powerful way you can protect yourselves from a lot of malicious functionality (including surveillance). Be warned, however, that doing so might prevent some websites from working.

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After the javascript cryto-mining was discovered people came out with ways to block it via manual additions to the blocklist. This information was also posted in the AdGuard discussion forums until they added it into the program, itself, although I’m not sure where it is placed. Some people even released web browser extensions (ie No Coin, MinerBlock, etc).

Initially, at least, it was as simple as adding to the block list:

But, I would expect to see more as time passes things getting harder to block. Now, programs like AdGuard and uBlock, etc, are not AV programs so expecting them to pick this up and block it w/o knowing crypto-mining via this method was occurring is a bit absurd. Once they became aware they added blocks.

I do understand people being skeptical of ad blockers these days. There have been some less than wonderful developments such as AdBlock Plus making money to allow some ads, etc. That said, just because some people decided to go in the wrong direction does not mean everyone has and jumping to generalizations is not the best thing.