‘Attack Or Business Opportunity?’: Academics Question Ethics Of Coinhive Cryptojacking

An academic report “A first look at browser-based Cryptojacking”, debating the history and ethical framework of cryptojacking, was released March 7 by researchers from Concordia University. The report focuses on Coinhive, a JavaScript browser miner for Monero, due to its early launch and widespread use.

Published for the IEEE Security & Privacy on the Blockchain workshop at University College London (UCL) by researchers Shayan Eskandari, Andreas Leoutsarakos, Troy Mursch, and Jeremy Clark, the report seeks to answer the ethical question of whether cryptojacking should be considered an “attack or business opportunity.”

The researchers write that the world has recently seen a “rejuvenation of browser-based mining.” The practice had initially been replaced by mining with ASIC chips as Bitcoin(BTC) mining became increasingly energy-intensive and thus expensive, but has made a comeback after the emergence of “ASIC-resistant” cryptocurrencies.

Coinhive, which was launched in 2017 to mine for the “ASIC-resistant” altcoin Monero, initially did not require consent before running its mining code, leading it to be used “maliciously”,  and as a result it was added to malware lists.

Using the search engine PublicWWW, the report found that over 30,000 websites currently use the Coinhive script, representing 92% of all websites running JavaScript cryptocurrency mining scripts…

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