New URL shortner mines crypto currency in browser while you wait for redirection

Posted 01 October 2017 12:58 CEST by Jan Willem Aldershoff

A new URL shortener service mines a crypto currency in the browser while the user waits to access the link. The person that shares the link can set the amount that needs to be mined before the content can be accessed. An easy way to get paid for sharing stuff on the web.

 

The service is called Coinlink and takes 5% of the revenue from the user sharing a link. When the user visits the link and waits till redirection,  the anonymous cryptocurrency Monero is mined.

Mining of Monero goes without installing additional software, the crypto currency is mined through JavaScript running in the browser. The user who originally shared the link can add an address to which the cryptocurrency should be sent and a difficulty that sets how much Monero needs to be mined before the users is redirected to the original link.

An example of how this works is here: https://coinlink.cc/link/51 and here https://coinlink.cc/link/52  (We’ve set the difficulty to low on the first link to demonstrate, in reality it might take much longer before you can access content shared through this service, the second link uses the highest difficulty).

This new way of sharing content is an excellent new way for online pirates to make money off their shared content. Where users are used to wait because services like RapidShare already showed a timeout to the user, to encourage them to upgrade to a paid subscription, the waiting time is now actually useful for the sharer.

Cryptocurrencies are increasingly used to make users pay for website or to generate money in general. Cybercriminals silently install crypto miners on hacked computers, inject JavaScript in websites that mine the digital coins and also The Pirate Bay reportedly used an in-browser miner.


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