Google could update Chrome to address pesky in-browser cryptocurrency miners

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

In-browser cryptocurrency mining is becoming a serious issue. While some sites like The Pirate Bay are open about the behavior, others (knowingly or otherwise) attempt to use your CPU cycles without your permission.

The behavior has reportedly drawn the attention of Google and according to Bleeping Computer, Chrome engineers are considering whether or not to take action.

Chrome engineer Ojan Vafai recently shared an opinion on the matter. In response to a bug report regarding resources being hijacked by in-browser mining applications, the engineer said that if a site uses more than XX percent CPU for more than YY seconds, the page should be put into a battery saver mode in which tasks are aggressively throttled. Critically, the mode would be accompanied by a pop-up notification that’d require the user to manually close (thus tipping them off that CPU usage had spiked).

Vafai said they’d obviously need to refine the XX and YY variables to figure out what works best but could start with egregious settings like 100 percent and 60 seconds.

It’s worth noting that, to the best of our knowledge, this is little more than a suggestion from an engineer at this point and there’s no evidence to indicate that Google is actively working on a notification or permission based on in-browser resource usage. Nobody likes pop-ups but I'd bet that people hate rogue cryptocurrency miners even more.

Until something does get done, your best bet may be to install an anti-mining extension like No Coin, minerBlock or AntiMiner.

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Theinsanegamer

TS Evangelist
OTOH, they should also include a way to turn this setting off.

Some sites I visit are reliant on coin mining now, because people use ad blockers, and the site has to make money somehow. Google throttling it would be disastrous to them.

then again, said site is very open about how they do this, and allow you to set CPU usage for mining. If every site were like this, I doubt that anybody would be truly upset about the whole web mining thing.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
OTOH, they should also include a way to turn this setting off.

Some sites I visit are reliant on coin mining now, because people use ad blockers, and the site has to make money somehow. Google throttling it would be disastrous to them.

then again, said site is very open about how they do this, and allow you to set CPU usage for mining. If every site were like this, I doubt that anybody would be truly upset about the whole web mining thing.
Sites that clearly offer a choice to users would, IMO, be a cut above all others especially those others that chose to mine clandestinely.

However, (I may be wrong about this) my guess is that unless mining lends itself to parallel processing, it will not be profitable, and that if it is serial in nature, it will be hard to get anywhere with it because it will depend on the intermediate results being passed from one client to the next.
 

Theinsanegamer

TS Evangelist
OTOH, they should also include a way to turn this setting off.

Some sites I visit are reliant on coin mining now, because people use ad blockers, and the site has to make money somehow. Google throttling it would be disastrous to them.

then again, said site is very open about how they do this, and allow you to set CPU usage for mining. If every site were like this, I doubt that anybody would be truly upset about the whole web mining thing.
Sites that clearly offer a choice to users would, IMO, be a cut above all others especially those others that chose to mine clandestinely.

However, (I may be wrong about this) my guess is that unless mining lends itself to parallel processing, it will not be profitable, and that if it is serial in nature, it will be hard to get anywhere with it because it will depend on the intermediate results being passed from one client to the next.
The owner of the site stated that on average, the mining made from $12-15 a day. Just enough to support the site itself.

The default was set to only 30% usage, and the site is not a high traffic one. Of course, that profit went from $12-15 to about $22 after a bunch of users slid the CPU scale to about 80% instead of 30%.

For a high traffic site, it cold be profitable. Also depends on what coin you use.