After it was discovered that illegal downloads site, The Pirate Bay, was secretly utilizing its visitor’s processing power to mine Monero, Showtime’s website has been found to be doing the same.
It was understood that because of the illegal nature of The Pirate Bay’s content, it was in search of an alternative revenue stream aside from advertising. However, with regards to Showtime, their website is legal and available for advertising, but this is still believed to be another attempt at revenue boosting.
The script that was found on the two affected sites for Showtime - showtime.com and showtimeanytime.com - is known as Coinhive. According to the site, it was made as an alternative to banner ads as a way for website owners to get around pesky ad-blockers. Ironically, some ad-blockers have now included Coinhive on the list of the banned.
This script is able to mine Monero, a cryptocurrency that is similar to Bitcoin but much more anonymous. The idea behind this script is that it can be used as an alternative to advertising, however, when it has been discovered recently, it has been implemented secretly.
Coinhive takes in 30 percent of the proceeds from sites that use their service while the remainder is sent to the site that is utilizing the script.
No need to hide
When The Pirate Bay was caught in the act of using similar scripts they were apologetic about the secret running of something that utilizes their users’ processing power without permission. However, in a follow-up, The Pirate Bay posted the question if users would prefer advertising or crypto mining, and the responses were predominantly positive towards mining.
Coinhive updated its site to include the statement: “We're a bit saddened to see that some of our customers integrate Coinhive into their pages without disclosing to their users what's going on, let alone asking for their permission.” Going forward, the service claims that it will now ask people browsing a site for permission before mining their CPU.