Depending on how one looks at it, the scourge of malware pirate mining, or the ingenious alternative to advertising retail, has taken off in recent times. Sites like The Pirate Bay and Showtime have been found out for using Javascript to mine cryptocurrencies with users’ processing power.

However, the market for this manner of making cryptocurrency has started to spread as now a Russian app developer has tried to embed a puzzle game with a pirate crypto miner to utilize potentially millions of Android devices to mine cryptocurrencies.

A legal ‘Botnet’

Russian developer Alexey Khripkov has described his creation as a legal Botnet, indicating his distribution of a crypto mining laced game onto the Google Play store.

A Botnet is a horde of hacked computers that are controlled to perform a single task, utilizing the power of the mass. It is often used in DDoS attacks on websites.

Khripkov has through a wildly popular game on the Play Store received access to potentially millions of Android devices which he can utilize for cryptocurrency mining as a plan to monetize the efforts.

Plans have been scuppered

However, the plans and the implementation of this pirate mining device have been slightly scuppered for Khripkov. Anti-virus companies started blocking Puzzle, deciding the mining was malicious, as noted by cybersecurity researchers at Ixia, which published a blog on the developer's work. This has forced the developer to change tact as he continues to remain legal and not underhanded.

Khripkov says he has removed the feature altogether and on top of that he has rather put out another app, Reward Digger, that would give them in-game bonuses for helping him mine coins.

Completely legal

Opinions are divided on this form of mining. Some believe that it is malware and should not be allowed, while others believe it is a healthy alternative to advertising as a form of revenue.

There are even some who are more inclined to utilize the pirate mining javascript maliciously and secretly, while on the other hand, one of the biggest names in the game, Coinhive, calls for transparency.

Yuchen Zhou said at security company Palo Alto:

"The use of Coinhive or similar mining services is itself not a malicious activity. It is how they are used that makes the sites malicious."

Khripkov explained his position:

"I do not do any evil things like illegal botnets... In my app you can control mining, you enable if it’s acceptable for you or disable if you do not want it. It is not hidden for users, so it is fully legal.”

"How my miner works in my app: users choose in settings the intensity of mining, then put the phone on charge. Now the app will wait until the phone is fully charged and start mining altcoins... If the phone [runs out of battery] or overheats, the mining stops.”