Cryptocurrency mining on a standard computer generates a return so low that it often isn’t worth the electricity that it consumes. But this is not a problem if you have hundreds, if not thousands, of computers mining.
Network of Illicit Cryptomining
This web of mining is precisely the strategy that is used by hackers all over the world to earn a sizeable amount of easy money; and you may not even realize it is happening. This phenomenon is known as cryptojacking, the opportunist’s immoral solution to the increased cost of mining.
When bitcoin was first launched in 2009, it was entirely possible to mine more than ten bitcoin every day with a standard computer and processor. The downsides were that it used almost all the processing power that the computer had available, making it difficult to use the machine efficiently for anything else, as well as generating unwanted heat and noise.
In December 2017, the results of cryptocurrency mining have stayed constant, while the profitability has declined, making it far less feasible for individuals to mine without specialized equipment. And for those who suspect that their computers have been hacked and are being used for mining, the new Opera browser provides the perfect solution.
Security of NoCoin
The developers of the browser have created a specialized feature designed for the sole purpose of preventing unauthorized bitcoin and altcoin mining on your computer. Called NoCoin, the setting is activated by the click of a button and instantly blocks any mining scripts from running.
Kornelia Mielczarczyk details how users would know if their computers have been compromised, or cryptojacked:
“Your CPU suddenly working at 100 percent capacity, the fan is going crazy for seemingly no reason and your battery quickly depleting might all be signs that someone is using your computer to mine for cryptocurrency.”
Additionally, if you are a victim of cryptojacking, the internet connection speed is reduced, and the battery is drained significantly faster.
Although Opera is the only browser to have this setting built in, Chrome and Firefox offer similar solutions. These cryptocurrency mining blockers are available for download from the app stores free of charge as extensions for the respective browsers.
Replacing Ad Revenue
After bitcoin, monero has also been a target cryptocurrency for hackers looking to mine at the expense of others. The Pirate Bay is one of the culprits, having been found to piggy-back off the CPU of their site’s visitors to help keep the website afloat.
So lucrative was this potential income stream that The Pirate Bay admitted it would be enough to replace the income generated from advertisements on the site.
The Pirate Bay was open to its visitors about the development, going as far as to ask for opinions and feedback. According to them, the mistake was unintentionally made of using the entire CPU allocation of visitors, as opposed to 20 or 30 percent of it, which contributed to the outrage.