Although the cost of most of cryptocurrencies in recent years significantly decreased, mining continued to enjoy great popularity.
One of the most popular solutions is the script Coinhive, which is often used on sites for mining cryptocurrency using the computer resources of visitors. Recently, attackers have invented a way to embed this script in commercials on YouTube.
Everyone who uses YouTube knows how annoying ads. Most of them are played before the video playback, but some of them will appear in the middle. They are annoying, but at least it takes only a few seconds of your time. But once it became possible to embed code for mining in commercials YouTube the situation has changed radically.
Independent expert in the field of cybersecurity Troy Murch commented on this incident in comments to Ars Technica:
Likely, YouTube was chosen due to the fact that users spend a lot of time there. This greatly simplifies the mining process, because the longer the script is running, the better profit you receive in terms of a single user.
The Answer Is Google
After reports surfaced that the advertisements Melnitsa Monero, Google (YouTube parent company) stated that the issue had been considered and resolved within two hours. However, according to data from social networks and Trend Micro, specializing in cybersecurity, announcements with the function of mining of cryptocurrencies functioned for about a week.
Google even released an official statement on the matter:
Mining through advertising is a relatively new form of malware distribution that violates our policy. We use multilevel system of safety on our platforms, which are updated as new threats emerge. In this case, the advertising was blocked in less than two hours and all the attackers were quickly removed from our platforms.
This is another episode of the ongoing arms race between those who want to engage in mining using other people’s resources and those who are trying to resist them. In all likelihood the race will continue until the cryptocurrency will have at least some value.