Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Salon to use readers' computers to mine cryptocurrency

Monero coin Salon to Mine Monero with Ad-Blocking Readers' Computers
Orlando Vargas | 14 February, 2018, 19:50

USA online news publication Salon has adopted an unconventional alternative to ads to make money - using a reader's computing power to mine cryptocurrency.

Addressing the program, Salon's teams wrote: "Like most media sites, ad-blockers cut deeply into our revenue and create a more one-sided relationship between reader and publisher".

"Block ads by allowing Salon to use your unused computing power", says Salon. This is causing many sites to lose out on revenue (unless users whitelist particular addresses), but United States media group Salon is trying out an innovative solution to the problem.

News organizations rely on advertising revenue to make ends meet, and often advise against readers using ad blocking add-ons to support the running of the site.

It turns out that Salon is also using Coinhive, the same service as the hackers, which has grown so widespread that security company Malwarebytes reported a year ago that it had become one of the main services its anti-malware software blocks.

If you chose to allow Salon to mine with your computer that agreement lasts for 24 hours and will then prompt you again on your next visit to their site.

Of course, we don't want to turn off our ad blockers.

A number of scientific projects also use spare computing power to contribute towards research.

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Another problem with Salon's mining operation is the use of the Coinhive software.

As such, avid fans of Salon who also hate online adverts could find the life of their computer's processor gets shortened and their electricity bill increases, unless Salon carefully manages how it puts its cryptocurrency miner to use.

Hotness is very literal in this case, by the way, because any time you visit Salon from now on, your CPU will be used to mine cryptocurrency on their behalf.

Salon CEO Jordan Hoffner told Fortune that the new plan has several users already and the mining option is just one aspect of the company's monetisation strategies; another of which is a paid tablet and mobile app to come later in 2018. Most computers have fans that automatically turn on to dissipate heat when more processing power is used - regardless of the cause. After I disabled Salon's cryptocurrency mining, my idle CPU power went back up to a more typical 70 to 80 percent.

For the most part, using browsers to mine cryptocurrency has remained the purview of criminals, scammers and other grey-market players.

Coinhive is a controversial mining tool that was recently uploaded to government websites by hackers.

Salon said the process only takes place when readers are on Salon.com, and the website will not gain access to readers' personal information or files.

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