Digging into Browser-based Crypto Mining


Mining is the foundation of blockchain-based cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin rewarding the miner for finding blocks for new transactions. The Monero currency enables mining with standard hardware in contrast to special hardware (ASICs) as often used in Bitcoin, paving the way for in-browser mining as a new revenue model for website operators. In this work, we study the prevalence of this new phenomenon. We identify and classify mining websites in 138M domains and present a new fingerprinting method which finds up to a factor of 5.7 more miners than publicly available block lists. Our work identifies and dissects Coinhive as the major browser-mining stakeholder. Further, we present a new method to associate mined blocks in the Monero blockchain to mining pools and uncover that Coinhive currently contributes 1.18% of mined blocks having turned over 1293 Moneros in June 2018.

Proceedings of the Internet Measurement Conference (IMC)
Torsten Zimmermann
Torsten Zimmermann
Engagement Manager