Brief summary: while hardening AdGuard’s crypto-jacking protection, we discovered four involved popular websites (mostly streaming) with an aggregated audience of almost a billion people.
We have already told you in our blog (part 1, part 2, part 3) about the problem of stealth mining (the so-called "cryptojacking"), but this story is not going to end. Just two(!) months after its first launch, this technology has been used on thousands of websites with a total estimated traffic of a billion(!) monthly visits. Now, after an additional three weeks have passed, we must regretfully report that cryptomining has soared to even greater heights.
Ad blockers were first to respond to this new menace and implement protection against mining on websites. Thanks to the popularity of ad blockers, a significant portion of Internet users received the necessary protection in a very timely manner. Naturally, "crypto-jackers" are not pleased with this counteraction.
More than a month has passed since our last research on this topic. We decided to check what has changed; understand the current state of in-browser crypto-mining, and its growth rate and trends.
We have collected new statistics about cryptocurrency mining on websites. This time we did not limit our search to the most popular 100K websites and tried to cover more.
This autumn the news spread that some websites had been making money by mining cryptocurrencies in their users’ browsers. We have been among the first to add protection from this hidden activity. AdGuard users now receive warnings if a website has been trying to mine, and the users are given the option to let it continue or to block the mining script from running.
We decided to research the issue more so that we could understand its scale and impact. On the Alexa list of the top one hundred thousand websites, we looked for the codes for CoinHive and JSEcoin, the most popular solutions for browser mining in use now.
Shortly after Apple decided to ban legit systemwide ad blockers from the App Store, we at AdGuard stumbled upon an app called AdblockPrime, claiming to provide systemwide ad blocking for free.
The app is advertised via Google AdSense, which means that money has been invested in its promotion. How is a free app supposed to pay off?
UPDATED on 25.09.2017, details are in the bottom of the article
Have you ever thought that your keyboard could be a professional spy? And we are not talking about jamesbondish handsome spies from Hollywood movies, but about the overt and constant home phoning of the personal information with its future distribution to third parties. Our recent research discovered a popular Android keyboard to spy on its users, with tons of personal information being sent to remote servers and using a prohibited technique to download dangerous executable code.