Web

Adult content domains are home to half the sites using cryptomining malware

digital currency
A new study reveals that cryptocurrency miners are turning to porn sites to exploit users’ computing power when they’re online. A Bejing-based company called 360NetLab has analyzed internet traffic patterns and concluded that sites offering adult content, while small in terms of web traffic, make up the vast majority of sites containing web mining code on their homepages.

These cryptocurrency mining programs usually download without permission when you click on the site and run in the background, using the computing power of your CPU to create new cryptocurrency (usually Monero). This can significantly diminish the performance of your computer while you’re online.

According to 360NetLab, 628 websites out of Alexa’s top 300,000 contained cryptomining code within their homepage (Alexa is a web traffic and analysis service that ranks websites by visitors, not to be confused with the ubiquitous voice assistant of the same name).

While small in terms of actual traffic, the research found that a whopping 49 percent of the domains containing cryptomining software were sites offering adult content.

We’re not linking to any of these sites for obvious reasons, but in terms of traffic the most-visited sites were mejortorrent, firefoxchina, scamadviser, and thepiratebay.blue. The most prevalent coin-mining tool is coinhive, which is used by 57 percent of the sites. Others include jsecoin, webmine, and cryptoloot.

More and more mining site providers want a piece of the action as well. The coin-mining software downloads started to become more prevalent around September of last year, and saw a big surge in January.

As the International Business Times points out, what these companies are doing is not technically illegal in most countries. Some sites claim that cryptocoin mining is a way to fund their websites, just like hosting advertising or asking for subscriptions. Most users would argue that it should be opt-in only. In fact, one new site called authedmine only mines with the user’s permission.

600 websites is a pretty small number, however, so there’s no need to panic. Any decent antivirus software can protect your computer by detecting the mining software before it’s downloaded. As always, make sure your operating system and security software are up to date.

Computing

Latest ransomware targets gamers with a malicious sophistication

The latest piece of ransomware, Anatova, has been discovered by the security team at McAfee. Employing a smart tactic to confuse users and able to clean its tracks as it evolves, this is one tough piece of ransomware.
Computing

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.
Mobile

Here’s how to download podcasts and listen to them on Android or iOS

Podcasts have become a cultural staple. Here's how to download podcasts and listen to them on your Android or iOS device, and which apps to use if you're looking to get the most out of the format.
Computing

It's not all free money. Here's what to know before you try to mine Bitcoin

Mining Bitcoin today is harder than it used to be, but if you have enough time, money, and cheap electricity, you can still turn a profit. Here's how to get started mining Bitcoin at home and in the cloud.
Computing

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.
Social Media

Nearly a million Facebook users followed these fake Russian accounts

Facebook purged two separate groups behind more than 500 fake accounts with Russian ties. One group had ties to Russian news agency Sputnik, while the other had behavior similar to the Internet Research Agency's midterm actions.
Smart Home

Amazon Prime members number more than 100 million in the U.S., survey says

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated there were 101 million U.S. Amazon Prime members as of December 31, 2018. Last April, CEO Jeff Bezos wrote there were more than 100 global million Prime members.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Computing

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. This list of the best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.
Computing

Always have way too many tabs open? Google Chrome might finally help

Google is one step closer to bringing tab groups to its Chrome browser. The feature is now available in Google's Chrome Canady build with an early implementation that can be enabled through its flag system.
Emerging Tech

Facebook hasn’t given up on the idea of building an internet drone

Facebook's efforts to provide internet connectivity from the skies using solar-powered drones suffered a blow last year when the company abandoned its "Aquila" drone project. But the company clearly hasn't given up on the idea.
Cars

Royal fans bid big money as Prince Philip ‘car crash parts’ hit eBay

A couple of days after a car crash that involved the 97-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II, debris apparently from the scene of the accident showed up on eBay. And people wanted to buy it.
Computing

How good are you at spotting phishing scams? Take this quiz to find out

Are you able to discern between a legitimate email and one that's a scam designed to phish for your personal information? Google created an online quiz with tips to help you better understand phishing so you don't become a victim.
Computing

Ditch the backdrop from your photos with these handy tools

Need to know how to remove the background from an image? Here's how, whether you prefer to use a premium program like Photoshop or one of the many web-based alternatives currently in existence.