Online software pirates are piggy-backing millions of computers to mine cryptocurrency.
The Pirate Bay – the world’s largest illegal download site for films, music books and other files – is telling users that the web site is grabbing some of their computer processing power every time they log in.
The computers are used to mine cryptocurrency, which the web site claims helps to fund their activities and allows them to reduce the number of adverts shown to users.
The Pirate Bay is letting users know about their mining network with a message when they log in to the site which says “by entering The Pirate Bay you agree to Monero being mined using your CPU. If you don’t agree please leave now or install an adblocker.”
It’s not the first time The Pirate Bay has taken control of computer processing power to mine cryptocurrency.
In 2017, the site admitted secretly plugging into user computers to mine the digital currency Monero.
“This is only a test. We really want to get rid of all the ads. But we also need enough money to keep the site running.
“Let us know what you think in the comments. Do you want ads, or do you want to give away a few of your CPU cycles every time you visit the site?
“Of course the mining can be blocked by a normal ad-blocker.”
The web site claimed the message was posted to let users know the mining software had been tested for just a single day.
Coinhive mining software
The Pirate Bay is embedding hacking software called Coinhive into internet browser tabs to mine Monero.
Hackers used the same software to break into more than 4,000 government web sites around the world to harness the power of their servers to mine Monero.
The Pirate Bay is a torrent site that allows registered users to download copyrighted content free of charge that has millions of users.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also mines cryptocurrency to raise funds with Coinhive and user CPU power.
“Mining is perfectly safe for your computer. If you’re ever worried about power consumption, turn down the amount of processing power you’re donating,” says UNICEF.