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Coin Hive again enters spotlight as UFC site caught mining coins using visitors" computers

Filip TRUȚĂ

November 07, 2017

Coin Hive again enters spotlight as UFC site caught mining coins using visitors" computers

Ultimate Fighting Championship (ufc.com) is the latest service to come under fire for running Coin Hive”s Monero mining scheme, using site visitors” CPU power to mine cryptocurrency for a fast buck.

After The Pirate Bay ran a test to see if it could monetize traffic without ads by using JavaScript cryptocurrency mining code, UFC stands accused of doing the same – without notifying subscribers, who, unlike torrent seekers, pay to access their content.

The scheme didn”t go unnoticed by redditor “gambledub” who, on Monday, made the following entry on the MMA subreddit:

“I noticed this because my anti virus kept pinging off every time I went on Fight Pass. It’s not harmful AFAIK, but doing this on a service we’re paying for is f***ed up imo. I researched Coin Hive (mentioned by my anti virus) and found the javascript on their website, and sure enough it’s running on Fight Pass.”

Coin Hive has received quite a bit of attention lately. The service, which encourages users to disclose their intentions to their audience, lets anyone with a relatively popular website mine Monero cryptocurrency using visitors” computer horsepower.

The practice, however, has been more than controversial, because most users of the service fail to tell visitors their computers are being used to generate electronic currency – which can be converted at any time into physical currency.

While some believe the scheme involving the mixed martial arts organization is the work of hackers stealthily embedding the JavaScript into the site (and tying it to their Monero wallets), Ultimate Fighting Championship has yet to issue a statement.

As of press time, the UFC has removed the Coin Hive code from its website.

Most recently, a software engineer published a Medium post sharing his experience of coming across a Google Chrome URL shortening extension carrying a hidden cryptocurrency miner. That miner was none other than the product offered by Coin Hive.

Though technically not full-fledged malware, cryptocurrency miners like those offered by Coin Hive are detected by Bitdefender and other AV vendors as potentially-malicious, giving users the chance to opt out.

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