back to article Up to 'ONE BEEELLION' vid-stream gawpers toil in crypto-coin mines

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 …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pay dirt

    Um, isn't one of the big problems for web creatives the struggle to get paid? Instead of fighting this crypto-mining thing, why not embrace it as "the micro-payment system that actually works"?

    I mean.. lemons? Meet lemonade.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pay dirt

      That's exactly the point I made over on Twitter when this "problem" popped up. The fundamental issue though is consent. Having a site by site permission system would be useful for informed users. Other people, they just don't care either way as survey data has shown. No other method has had uptake as you've pointed out, too.

      In engineering and economic terms: {Big shrug}

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pay dirt

      As long as the mining announces itself, gives me a ON OFF option and has a slider to adjust CPU cycle allocation, I don't have an issue...

      Doing it behind my back though is a twats trick.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Pay dirt

        web creatives the struggle to get paid?

        The fundamental issue though is consent.

        Doing it behind my back though is a twats trick.

        er, hello? these are pirates . They are NOT going to give you the choice and they are NOT going to pay the creatives any dues . I think thats the case , I only read the first line of the article.

        ok I've read the 2nd line. The sites are semi reputable , but the people embedding the mining code arnt.

      2. RyokuMas
        Meh

        Re: Pay dirt

        Been thinking about this for a while - albeit as a solution to the ongoing issue of monetization and microtransactions in games: a big pop-up on load which informs in order to play, you will need to give [n] percent of your spare CPU up to crypto-mining, and options to increase this percentage for a given time in order to purchase in-game items - otherwise the game costs nothing.

        1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

          Re: Pay dirt

          I stay away from game sites myself, but I suspect that they are poorly situated to make use of mining. Gamers tend to be fanatics about system performance. Mining directly degrades performance. Not a good match. As opposed to a site that publishes in depth articles.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the struggle to get paid?

      All well and good, but the site owners weren't getting paid.

  2. TrumpSlurp the Troll

    Sponsored by power companies?

    The big profits are not made by the miners but by the people selling the electricity.

    Note: this may have changed recently with the surge in prices of coins, but for a long time it cost more in power than you got in coins for all but the most specialised hardware. Which is why we can't have nice things (like graphics cards) for Xmas.

    1. Naselus

      Re: Sponsored by power companies?

      I'd say making $332k a month using someone else's electricity to do the mining is still fairly profitable.

    2. MonkeyCee

      Re: Sponsored by power companies?

      "Note: this may have changed recently with the surge in prices of coins, but for a long time it cost more in power than you got in coins for all but the most specialised hardware. "

      For the last 5 years that's not been the case. Even if you mine and flog them right off the bat, missing all these 1000% returns, it's still been profitable to mine on a graphics card, in a high 'leccy cost country.

      For something like Litecoin, which is now pretty much only profitable when mined by the latest generation of ASICs, there was a period wher the first gen ASICs where being built, pre-sold, and then eventually delivered. I was using R9 270 cards to mine then, which had a ROI of between nine and twelve months. They are still marginally profitable ($3 income profit from $2 of power over 24 hours), and have made $4 from $1 for about another year when they where mining Etherium. I could even flog them for about 50 euro now, and they cost me 150 new. On average (according to my sad git spreadsheet) they made me a euro a day net profit over the course of three years. Power here is 0.21 euro a kwh.

      So even for a now ASIC only coin, non-specialized hardware is profitable a certain points in it's life. For any coin that is designed to make ASICs prohibitively expensive relative to a CPU or GPU (Monero) or is still waiting on ASIC miners to be delivered you can still make bank.

      For current graphics cards, Nvidia 10xx series are pretty much the best bang for buck, albeit not being that cheap. A tuned 1060 is 280-330, and should do 3-4 euro in income for about 4.5 kwh, the others are multiples (1070 x1.5, 1080ti x2.25).

      "Which is why we can't have nice things (like graphics cards) for Xmas."

      According to the GPU manufacturers, 3-4% of their sales are to miners versus gamers, down from 6%*. This is broadly backed up by what the pool mining rates have been. So either other factors where to blame for supply shortages (that also affected all other IT kit), or the suppliers used the crunch to bump prices. Or an increase of 3% in sales somehow clears all the 200-400 euro cards.

      Now nVidia cards are back to their pre-crunch prices, and AMD have re-jigged their range to make 8Gb models more pricey, which implies that it was the cost/availability of GDDR5 memory that was more of an influence than anything else.

      The manufacturers also manage to ignore what miners want when they designed their "mining card". Generally faster/better RAM is the biggest kicker, along with a backplate for cooling and cost. Didn't get either of any of these things, cost was the same, but you only got 30 days rather than 2 year warranty. You are much better off buying a gaming series card, which has a decent resale value, as well as better RAM, cooling and better chance of winning the silicon lottery.

      *nVidia reckons $1.5 Bn in slaes to gamers, 50 mil to miners, down from 75 mil.

  3. Valeyard

    permission

    It's fine when you have permission to do it, there's a site I visit (https://hashkiller.co.uk/md5-decrypter.aspx) which gives you a popup asking for permission and explaining what you're agreeing to. fine, i can get behind that, as long as i'm not doing anything more important elsewhere on the computer why not, but that popup asking me is the key aspect here

  4. PhilipN

    Monero

    appears twice on El Reg today.

    Does that mean I should look it up and incorporate it into my vocabulary from now on?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Monero

      I thot it were slang too, but it's just the name of a cryptocurrency. :-(

    2. d3vy

      Re: Monero

      NO!!!

      Or at least not yet.

      I'm slowly starting to accumulate monero and the Dutch of media attention it's got because of coin hive is pushing the prices up... Could we all agree to stop talking about it for another 6-12 months please?

      ;)

      1. MonkeyCee

        Re: Monero

        Well, that'll be difficult.

        When the media realise that reprinting their 2012 articles about Bitcoin bubbles make them look like eejits, and meaningful discussion about how currency (and thus crypto) works is avoided at all costs*, the next stop is to discuss the "next big thing" which of course causes speculators to pile in to that. Hence Monero going up ~200% in a month, since it's the biggest coin using the cryptonight algo that hasn't been hacked, and it has an easily identifiable "better than BTC" aspect, namely being anonymous.

        Since the editorial position of most news outlets is "crypto = scam or criminal" then Monero neatly fits in the second category. So it will usually be in any top 5 list, along with Etherium.

        It's also got a daily trade volume ~250 million USD, so it's not really under the radar :)

        * the short version is that a currency has value because we all collectively agree that it does, and there is no other reason why. This is upsetting to many people, once you get onto how money is created it's usually pitchforks and torches time

        ** as in someones gone to jail for securities fraud, rather than the more useful "looks like a scam, smells like a scam" stuff that you can find on reddit et al

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "At the moment, the only real solution is to use..."

    NoScript. As 100% of internet-related trouble these days is some bit of effing JavaScript, NoScript is the end of the line for them.

    Adblockers ? Yeah, in addition to NoScript, why not ?

    But if you use an ad blocker and do not use NoScript, you're at risk.

    1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: "At the moment, the only real solution is to use..."

      Unfortunately, Mozilla has made some sort of deep change to Firefox's API, and this has made NoScript unusable. I'm finding uMatrix is getting me there.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ? Bittorrent

    Is Bittorrent one of these mining avenues? Lately, I've noticed anomalous data flows in torrents I'm seeding. These are torrents for Linux distributions, which I support. Naturally, seeding, I'd expect a more or less constant outgoing data flow, with a much smaller incoming traffic level, of requests. But that is not happening. Incoming data streams are frequently higher than outgoing, and strangely pulsed, almost cyclic over a few seconds periodicity.

  7. sloshnmosh

    uMatrix

    "Unfortunately, Mozilla has made some sort of deep change to Firefox's API, and this has made NoScript unusable. I'm finding uMatrix is getting me there"

    uMatrix is excellent at letting you pick and choose which scripts you want (need) to allow without completely borking a website.

    And it has it's own local "hosts" files and tries to spoof browser fingerprinting among other things.

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