You may be uncomfortable with your kids seeing an endless array of sugared cereal and toy ads
with their videos. You can pay YouTube $10 monthly for a subscription to ad-free YouTube Red,
or use an ad-blocker. There are many free ones available for
and mobile (check Google Play
and Apple's App Store).
According to a recent report from AdGuard, more than 200 of the top 100,000 sites on the
web were hosting suspicious code. That may not seem like a big deal, but even sites near
the bottom of that list draw a huge amount of traffic. The most popular one on AdGuard's
list regularly pulls in around 60 million visits every month.
In total, AdGuard discovered cryptocurrency mining code on 220 sites over a three-week period.
During that time around 500 million users unknowingly ran that code on their computers.
More than half a billion people may be inadvertently mining cryptocurrencies from their
computers, smartphones and other devices, according to research conducted earlier this
year by ad blocking firm AdGuard.
“How much money have these websites made? We estimate their joint profit at over $43,000,”
the AdGuard researchers said in an October blogpost that detailed their discovery. At the
time, one bitcoin was worth around $5,000.
The video sites Openload, Streamango, Rapidvideo and OnlineVideoConverter are allegedly
loading mining software on to visitors’ computers, making them generate tokens for the
bitcoin-like cryptocurrency Monero, according to security firm Adguard.
“We came across several very popular websites that secretly use the resources of users’
devices for cryptocurrency mining,” said Andrey Meshkov, co-founder of Adguard.
“According to SimilarWeb, these four sites register 992m visits monthly.”
Although the developers aren't saying how much money they've made from their idea, online
ad-blocking service AdGuard also found the Coinhive miner on over 30,000 sites and estimates
the code generates $150,000 in Monero every month. For Coinhive, which takes a 30 percent
cut, that amounts to $540,000 per year.
Popular video sites including Openload, Streamango, Rapidvideo and OnlineVideoConverter are
also allegedly loading mining software on to visitors' computers, according to security firm Adguard.
"We came across several very popular websites that secretly use the resources of users’
devices for cryptocurrency mining," said Andrey Meshkov, co-founder of Adguard. "According
to SimilarWeb, these four sites register 992m visits monthly."
AdGuard is one of our favourite free ad blockers due not only to its simplicity, but also
how customisable it is. There are over 50 filters built into the app, allowing you to see
exactly what you want to see – and not the rest. Even if there’s not a premade filter that
you require, you’ll be able to create it in the app with a few taps.
In a blog post, AdGuard — which claims to be “the world’s most advanced ad blocker” — first
drew widespread attention to this particular case. The blog explains that EasyList, the most
popular list of domain names used by adblockers, removed the domain name “functionalclam.com”
due to a DMCA removal request that was sent to GitHub.