Hardware

Internet domain provider Cloudflare has begun to crack down on websites running hidden cryptocurrency miners.

The news came to light yesterday, when the operator of torrent site ProxyBunker told TorrentFreak that Cloudflare had moved to remove all its relevant domains due to a miner hiding in the website's code. A portal to other torrent sites, ProxyBunker had been running the "Coinhive" monero miner for four days prior to the suspension.

Justin Paine, head of trust and safety at Cloudflare, reportedly told ProxyBunker that the decision was taken because the miner was operating in secret, with no option for visitors to disable the code, and was thus considered "malware."

Paine was quoted as saying:

"Multiple domains in your account were injecting Coinhive mining code without notifying users. ... We consider this to be malware, and as such the account was suspended, and all domains removed from Cloudflare."

A website miner works by tapping the processing power of visitors' computers to mine cryptocurrencies. This particular process has gained notoriety in recent days, given instances such as torrent site The Pirate Bay's controversial decision to launch a Web-based miner, which was later removed following a public outcry.

Perhaps more notably, well-known companies like TV content provider Showtime have reportedly had mining malware hidden on their websites, stealing processing power from unwitting users.

Further, the number of torrent sites running mining code has reportedly increased.

The trend has been met with mixed responses, but according to TorrentFreak, website miners could serve as a novel financing method for low-profit services, such as torrents. Yesterday, torrent website PassThePopcorn announced it will be introducing an "opt-in" version of the software as a way of funding its service.

Hardware image via Shutterstock

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