Friday, October 6, 2017

Cloudfare Bans Websites For Using Cryptocurrency Miners -

Cloudfare has begun banning websites that coverly embed cryptocurrency miners into their website code to boost website revenues. With the rise in ad-blockers, many websites are turning to cryptocurrency miners like Coinhive, which embed code that -- via your browser -- utilizes spare CPU cycles to mine cryptocurrency. The problem: many of the websites rushing to embrace this technology aren't informing users that it's being used, and by proxy aren't giving websites visitors any way to opt out. That's a problem when early reports have suggested that up to 60-80% of CPU processing power can be hijacked for somebody else's benefit.

Pirate Bay learned this the hard way when users on Reddit recently complained about the site's use of such miners. The website ultimately backed away from the practice, but not after offering a fairly flimsy mea culpa.

"As you may have noticed we are testing a Monero javascript miner," said the site's administrators. "This is only a test. We really want to get rid of all the ads. But we also need enough money to keep the site running."

Similarly, Showtime was recently busted for secretly embedding the same miner in the code on two of its domains: Showtime.com and Showtimeanytime.com. The code quickly disappeared, and Showtime has yet to explain how it got there. At no point did Showtime inform site visitors the tool was in use.

Now security and DDOS protection outfit Cloudfare has added a new wrinkle to the story by banning several BitTorrent websites that have been using such miners without informing visitors. Websites are being told they've engaged in a "possible" terms of service violation for utilizing the software, which Cloudfare has classified as malware.

"Multiple domains in your account were injecting Coinhive mining code without notifying users and without any option to disabling [sic] the mining," Cloudfare recently told ProxyBunker, a website that provides alternative URLs for banned BitTorrent websites. "We consider this to be malware, and as such the account was suspended, and all domains removed from Cloudflare."

Cloudfare doesn't appear to have banned any non-piracy focused websites so far. And again, the problem isn't websites using cryptocurrency miners to help shore up lagging ad revenue, it's the fact that many websites don't apparently see the need to inform customers their browser, CPU, and some added electricity (such these miners can drain mobile device batteries more quickly) have been hijacked to make an extra buck.

Let's block ads! (Why?)


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