You might want to be careful when watching YouTube videos from now on because aside from being loaded with tons of ads, the advertisements themselves are hiding something dreadful: cryptocurrency mining.
This mining software secretly draws off computing power from the unfortunate YouTube viewers who encounter their ads. The people responsible for this were hackers who were looking to guzzle digital currency from Monero by abusing Google’s ad network. What they did is seed the advertisements with web scripts that will run over your browser – a sneaky cryptocurrency mining strat that could target anyone without their knowledge.
Trend Micro, a cybersecurity agency, reported that the areas that were affected by the spread of these cryptocurrency mining ads were Japan, Taiwan, France, Italy, and Spain. YouTube users who noticed an unusual behavior with their computers were fortunate to have installed an antivirus software prior to the incident. The antivirus software detected the cryptocurrency mining software immediately and blocked it before it could do something bad.
YouTube is a very likely target for hackers because it’s one of the most-used video platforms with users from all over the world. Trend Micro says that the more browsers a software can make its way into, the more cryptocurrency it can get.
This cryptocurrency mining software is detrimental to the health of a computer because it eats up resources and slows down its performance. The hackers of this cryptocurrency mining scripts definitely made sure of this because the mining software draws off 80% of computer power.
It’s a good thing that Google, the company that owns YouTube, was quick to respond. They have blocked the ads and removed it from the Google platform in less than 2 hours. Otherwise, it would have had a more serious consequence.
The bad news is that any cryptocurrency mining software that makes its way into your browser will be sticking with you for a long time. Hackers have been hijacking websites and chrome extensions to seed them with web scripts to mine Monero, which is at $117 per 1 coin. No wonder hackers are doing all sorts of antics just to get away with cryptocurrency mining.
The recent YouTube cryptocurrency mining campaign also used Coinhive in most of the ads. The rest of the eds were privately owned. TrendMicro has named it one of the fastest-spreading malware threats around the web. They also haven’t given a comment regarding this issue.
Keeping your computer safe from this cryptocurrency mining software doesn’t mean forgetting about YouTube forever. Just make sure that you’re using the necessary security measures such as installing a firewall for your browser, getting an antivirus software that scans your computer frequently, and using a VPN while doing any kind of online activity even if you think it’s harmless.