First it was The Pirate Bay, then Showtime was caught secretly using page visitor’s processing power to mine cryptocurrency as a form of alternative revenue.
It has led to some indignation from users of such sites, as well as worry and fear about the vulnerability of users who are visiting sites and staying on them for a long time. However, there are a few things that can be done to protect yourself.
An issue with secrecy
It must be stated that the reasoning put forward, along with an apology, from The Pirate Bay was that they saw it as an alternative to banner advertising, which is tricky for what is essentially an illegal website.
Many were happy with the idea of their processor being used, but not happy with the secret nature of it all.
What can be done?
If however you are not happy with the idea of being mined, secretly or not, there are a few ways to check if you are indeed a victim of processor pirates.
Check your CPU usage
Simply by opening your resource manager on your computer, and looking at the CPU usage, it can quickly become clear if there is indeed something sucking your processing power.
Additionally, if you have everything closed but CPU usage is still super high, then you may have a crypto mining malware problem.
Ad Blockers can help
Mining hijacking can occur simply by visiting certain sites, but there have been instances where infected adverts on sites have also led to this CPU pirating. Researchers at security software vendor ESET have explained this process.
Thus, running an ad blocker can put a stop to this. Additionally, ad blocking software can also filter out known types of in-browser miners. One such mining script is called Coinhive, which isn’t necessarily malware.
There is other malware
Besides from legitimate pirate mining software, there are more sophisticated forms of malware which actively penetrates the system. These are delivered through infected image files or by clicking on links leading to a malicious site.
If one of these hits you, you should open up Task Manager and identify the process that is eating up all those compute cycles and terminate it from your resource monitor.