Many individuals fall under the false impression that crypto mining operations are solely operated by large corporations with data centers that can be likened to a mansion. However, this is far from the case, as there are methods of mining that can be used to garner cryptocurrencies, like Monero, through any old computer system.
According to a report from Germany’s RWTH Aachen University, which was relayed by The Next Web, Coinhive-based miners make up a hefty 1.18% of the total hashing power of the Monero blockchain. While 1% may not sound like anything extraordinary, it is surprising considering that the crypto mining industry is backed by billions of dollars. Moreover, Monero miners account for 75% of all browser-based crypto mining operations.
Upon further discussion, academics noted that after an in-depth analysis of the Monero network that Coinhive could generate upwards of 300 XMR each week. This translates to approximately $29,000 a week, $120,000 a month, and $1.4 million each year at August 17th prices (1 XMR = $96). The report elaborated, noting:
“If we sum up the block rewards of the actually mined blocks over the observation period of [four] weeks, we find that Coinhive [sic] earned 1,271 XMR.”
While website owners utilizing the script have been raking in XMR, the developers behind CoinHive also integrated a function where they get 30% of all mined cryptocurrencies. As such, it is speculated that the developers behind the project have garnered hundreds of thousands of dollars in XMR since its release.
Hackers And Coinhive’s ‘Short Link’ Feature
Despite Coinhive’s developers originally creating the script with good intent, it quickly became a method for hackers acting in malintent to buff their own cryptocurrency wallets. These hackers often secretly integrate Coinhive code onto websites to infect thousands of computers, forcing the devices of unsuspecting victims to mine for a hacker’s personal gain. This is an attack vector of choice because setting up an XMR Coinhive miner is relatively easy and transactions are kept confidential on the Monero blockchain.
According to the aforementioned report, CoinHive can operate using a so-called ‘short link’ system, where a user is required to unknowingly or knowingly submit a varied amount of hashes to the Monero network to reach a specific website.
Upon analysis of the nearly two million active short links, academics found that a majority of these short links are directed to shady sites, indicating how widespread the cryptojacking dilemma may have become. Additionally, the majority of the XMR garnered through the aforementioned two million short links are reportedly directed to 10 individuals.