SALON MAGAZINE USE READERS' PCS TO MINE CRYPTO-CASHDate: 2018-02-14
If users choose to block advertising, US Publication, Salon, will use that user's computer to mine for Monero, a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin.
Creating new tokens of a cryptocurrency typically requires complex calculations that use up a lot of computing power.
Salon Magazine told its readers: "We intend to use a small percentage of your spare processing power to contribute to the advancement of technological discovery, evolution and innovation."
This site makes use of CoinHive, a controversial mining tool that was recently used in an attack involving government websites in the UK, US and elsewhere.
Unlike that incident, where hackers took control of visitors' computers to mine cryptocurrency, Salon notifies users and require them to agree before the mining begins.
"I've opted-in to Salon's new revenue model using CoinHive," wrote security researcher Troy Mursch.
"100% of my CPU is now used by them to mine cryptocurrency. As my computer slows to crawl and quickly begins to heat up, I struggle to navigate their website."
The approach harnesses a computer's spare processing power when the user is browsing Salon.com after a user accepts a prompt asking for permission. Shortly after, readers will hear their cooling fans kick into action, and the computer is put to work, as it uses more power.
Salon told readers the idea was part of a trail. "For our beta program, we’ll start by applying your processing power to mine cryptocurrencies to recoup lost ad revenue when you use an ad blocker," the company said.
"We plan to further use any learnings from this to help support the evolution and growth of blockchain technology, digital currencies and other ways to better service the value exchange between content and user contribution."