While there has been a spate of so-called Crypto Pirate Mining uncovered, on sites like The Pirate Bay and even Showtime, it turns out the problem is bigger than expected - and growing.

However, it is a contentious issue as pirate mining, which involves a website using a script to enact a user’s processor to help them mine cryptocurrencies, is not necessarily seen as malware, yet it can be viewed as such.

The issue, however, is that this phenomenon will only continue to grow as the price of cryptocurrencies expands and the profitability of it increases.

A question of ethics

It is a broad issue to face as it emerged that many do not mind having their processors used to mine digital currencies for the upkeep of other sites. In fact, some even said they preferred it over having to deal with advertising.

The Pirate Bay came clean on their mining and many said that was all that was needed, a level of openness, as it is well known that the Pirate Bay cannot utilize advertising.

However, when the likes of Coinhive, the seemingly leading scrip in this regard, is utilized, the hope is that consent will be requested, but there are instances where it is a malware-type attack.

Hundreds of websites were found to be running code created by the Coinhive project. This lets the web domains generate coins for the Monero cryptocurrency by using the processing power of visitors' computers.

"The use of Coinhive or similar mining services is itself not a malicious activity," said Yuchen Zhou and colleagues at security company Palo Alto. "It is how they are used that makes the sites malicious."

Clone wars

Now, there are instances where people have cloned the likes of legitimate scripts put out by Coinhive, which does become malicious when it is affected.

Security news website Bleeping Computer has now found 10 separate "clones" of Coinhive that mine different types of coins for their creators.

"Most are behaving like malware, intruding on users' computers and using resources without permission," wrote Catalin Cimpanu on the Bleeping Computer site.

Some of the copycat coin-mining programs specifically target popular website creation and admin systems such as WordPress. Others, said Cimpanu, are written in Javascript and their creators try to insert them wherever they can.