CBS’s Showtime secretly exploits visitors’ CPU power to mine cryptocurrency
Only a week has passed since The Pirate Bay was caught discreetly running a cryptominer to borrow site visitors’ CPU power, converting traffic into profit, and it seems to be the case that another well-known site has been caught doing the same.
CBS implemented the cryptominer on Showtime.com and Showtimeanytime.com, two of its official Showtime sites, as caught by information security analyst Troy Mursch. He first investigated the issue when he received a tip from a twitter user, warning about possible tampering with the code on the Showtime websites.
This exploitation received a lot of outrage, as CBS had added the mining program without prior notification or consent from its users. The mining software used a majority of 60% of visitors’ processing power even if the websites weren’t actively in use, as long as they were simply opened as an unused tab in the browser.
As CBS’s scheme was exposed and following public disdain, CBS has detached the mining software from both websites, but not before Troy Mursch was able to save screenshots of Showtime’s coding logs before, during, and after the cryptominer was implemented.
Mursch stated that CBS used Coinhive, the same software The Pirate Bay used for the cryptominer that it ran on its website. There have also been recent reports of several malware developers seeking the service of Coinhive, increasing the risk of more groups and networks hijacking unsuspecting people’s computer processing power for personal gain.
As a security protocol, you may download and install the chrome browser extensions No Coin or minerBlock, which were specifically developed in order to prevent cryptominers from exploiting your CPU power. It may be helpful to note that these extension function the same way as an ad-blocker does; it grants you the ability to deliberately allow websites to use your processing power if you want.