Have you ever visited or watched a video on the Website YouTube? I’m sure most of us have at some point. Last week it was discovered that hackers have used the video streaming giant to mine cryptocurrency on users computers. Just recently the company started implementing more advertisements into its videos, as it has always had advertisements before and between videos, and it seems hackers took advantage of this. How was the YouTube hack discovered? While users were watching ads on YouTube, it automatically triggered anti-virus software on some computers. This raised a big red flag for some and they automatically contacted the company.
On investigating, the company discovered the adverts contained a mining code called CoinHive. CoinHive acted as a malware attack and secretly used up to 80% of the video watcher’s central processing computer units to mine various cryptocurrencies. The primary reason for using someone else’s computer to mine is due to the fact that it takes a lot of computing power to mine cryptocurrency. The hackers were trying to steal the power from other to mine the digital currency on their behalf.
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Once Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), the owner of Youtube, discovered this malware the ads were blocked in less than two hours. The anti-virus company Google hired to investigate, Trend Micro, is still in the works of compiling the list of those affected but so far it shows the countries most affected are Japan, Italy, France, Spain, and Taiwan. Trend Micro discovered that Google’s new DoubleClick advertisement caused three times greater increase in the number of people using CoinHive.
As cryptocurrencies gained mainstream momentum, “crypto jacking” has become a huge issue. Back in December, we reported that a Starbucks in Argentina was found mining cryptocurrency from its customer’s laptops. The company has kept it under wraps if it was an employee who hacked into the wifi router to implement the hack or if it was an outside source. However, the threat remains evident as many individuals want to get their hands on cryptocurrency and the electricity to mine is extremely expensive.
Is this YouTube hack just another cryptocurrency hiccup or are crypto hacks becoming something of a trend? Can companies protect themselves against such an unregulated industry? What do you think? Comment in the box below.
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