A torrent downloads website has started offering visitors the option to enable a cryptocurrency mining feature and earn incentives for the platform, according to a TorrentFreak report.
The news indicates a possible shift in tactics by torrent websites, after a number of popular services have been found to have installed hidden cryptocurrency mining code that harnesses visitors' computer processing power without seeking permission.
Some, such as The Pirate Bay, have notably failed to inform site visitors that their CPU was being used by the miner, a strategy that led domain supplier Cloudflare to classify the undisclosed process as "malware" and remove the domains of torrent site ProxyBunker for also hosting mining code.
TorrentFreak added that the unnamed "private tracker," an invite-only torrent site, has not only made this feature optional, but it also incentivizes members to let their CPUs be used for cryptocurrency mining by offering "upload credit" in return.
A resource that members require in order to download content, upload credit must usually either be purchased or generated from – as the name suggests – uploading new content. The new system allows visitors to mine monero and then trade it in for the credits.
The tech news source further cites an increasing number of torrent websites now using more transparent models that allow visitors both a choice in the cryptocurrency mined and a way to track the process.
On/off switch image via Shutterstock