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Youtube Ads Have Been Running Cryptocurrency Mining Code on Visitors’ CPUs

Youtube Ads Are Using Your CPU to Mine Crypto ?

Recently, reports have surfaced that Youtube Ads have been “infected” with cryptocurrency mining code. The mining code starts running by using the CPU power of people watching a Youtube video. People in Japan, Spain, Taiwan, France, and Italy have complained that their antivirus software detected suspicious crypto mining code while they were on Youtube. These users also tried to change their browsers and visited other websites. However, the mining code was only found to be running while on Youtube.

According to an investigation by Trend Micro, a cybersecurity company, hackers had used the DoubleClick Ad system, offered by Google, to take over people’s CPUs. After gaining control, the mining code started to execute and mined the Monero cryptocurrency. Disgruntled users took to social media to voice the concerns. However, a Google employee soon responded by stating that the Youtube Ads found running the mining scripts had been blocked within 2 hours. The employee also claimed that the attackers had been kicked off of the website. Another Google representative said, “Mining cryptocurrency through ads is a relatively new form of abuse that violates our policies and one that we’ve been monitoring actively”.

Although this might have temporarily solved the problem, what’s stopping these attackers from coming back? One way to avoid crypto mining attacks might be to switch over to the Opera browser. As reported earlier by Core Media, the latest version of the Opera browser now blocks crypto mining software from outside parties. It’s available for both mobile and desktop users.

Why Was Youtube Targeted?

Typically, the crypto mining code is written in JavaScript, and the Coinhive software is used in 90% of all crypto mining attacks. Troy Mursch, a security researcher at Bad Pockets Report, stated that Youtube had probably been targeted because many people have a habit of spending a lot of time on it. Cryptojackers, attackers who hog other CPUs for crypto mining, exploit their habit to mine crypto for themselves. Mr. Mursch also mentioned that malicious mining scripts were programmed to consume as much as 80% of their victim’s CPU power.

Youtube Ads running crypto mining scripts to attack unsuspecting users isn’t the only problem that Youtube has faced recently. A popular Youtuber named Logan Paul, who has more than 16 million subscribers, uploaded a video of him visiting the infamous suicide forest in Japan. Although other users have done something similar, he was the first to actually show a dead body in the video. This created a lot of controversies and Logan Paul was strongly condemned for his actions. The way Youtube responded was also heavily criticized.

Youtube Needs to Act More Responsibly

Whether it’s compromising user security with parasitic mining code or allowing videos on its platform that show dead bodies of people who’ve committed suicide, it’s clear that Youtube has not been acting responsibly. Although this won’t nearly be enough to stop people from visiting Youtube, considering that 5 billion videos are watched on Youtube daily, the folks behind the world’s largest video portal should try a lot harder to safeguard the security and privacy of their users. Additionally, people who visit Youtube should protect themselves and remain vigilant.