Cryptocurrency miners used YouTube ads to drain CPU power off of visitors

Cryptocurrency miners found a new way of using other people’s computers to give their cryptocurrency mining a boost: running ads on YouTube that consume visitors’ CPU power.

An Ars Tecnica report published on Friday revealed that certain ads on YouTube were found to “covertly leach off visitors’ CPUs and electricity to generate digital currency on behalf of anonymous attackers.”

Some of the affected YouTube users went to social media about how their antivirus programs were detecting cryptocurrency mining code in certain ads that popped up whilst watching Youtube.

The attackers placed the malware on YouTube with the Google DoubleClick advertising platform.

Bitcoin, which came into circulation in 2009, is the best-known cryptocurrency – a digital currency with no single administrator or central bank.

Cryptocurrency miners targeted many countries

The ads targeted users in several different countries, including Japan, France, Taiwan, Italy, and Spain, according to data from the Trend Micro Smart Protection Network.

A Google representative told Ars Tecnica that Google took down the ads in less than two hours. The search engine giant also removed the attackers from its platform:

“Mining cryptocurrency through ads is a relatively new form of abuse that violates our policies and one that we’ve been monitoring actively.

“We enforce our policies through a multi-layered detection system across our platforms which we update as new threats emerge.

“In this case, the ads were blocked in less than two hours and the malicious actors were quickly removed from our platforms.”

Video – Cryptocurrencies

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