Cryptocurrencies are secured by encryptions. They are anonymous by nature and you can use digital currencies like Bitcoins for making payments on the internet.
Today, there are many types of digital currencies available in the internet market, apart from the commonly used Bitcoin. There’s Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Feathercoin and Bitcoin Cash. It is almost like a gold rush, where people are trying to make profits by mining the hardware.
They earn around 50 cents to about $10 a day making use of your browser, and within two years they can recoup the amount spent for the hardware. People mine the cryptocurrency by investing money in the hardware and then waiting for the value to increase.
Digital currencies typically take up plenty of processing power for running the necessary complex algorithms and cracking codes. It takes longer to find the code for Bitcoin, as it is an older currency, whereas it is comparatively easier to crack the codes of newer cryptocurrencies.
Using Your Web Browser: Is it Ethical?
Since cryptocurrencies are becoming more popular and rising in value, some site owners or miners have started using mining scripts. They make use of the visitors’ CPU power to make profits on the digital currency.
Pirate Bay is one of the first torrent websites seen using cryptocurrency mining codes. This has spawned a debate on the ethical aspect of this type of method for mining digital currencies, as the visitors do not have any knowledge about the activity.
In a blog post published after the news broke, the Pirate Bay team explained they were testing Coinhive, and it would help them to eliminate ads on the site.
Some people don’t mind these websites using their web browser to make money. But if you do mind, here are some effective ways to block cryptocurrency mining in your web browser.
Are You a Victim?
The first step is to find out whether you are a victim of such activities; that is, whether websites are using your browser for mining cryptocurrencies.
Check to see if there’s a sudden increase in CPU usage. If no apps are running and if all your browser tabs are closed but the usage has increased, it is possible that you are a target for cryptocurrency mining.
Block Cryptocurrency Mining
Most of the websites that are indulging in cryptocurrency mining make use of Coinhive. Here are a few steps you could take to block cryptocurrency mining in your web browser.
Step 1. Use Chrome Extension: No Coin/minerBlock
- Install No Coin.
This is a browser extension for blocking cryptominers so that they don’t use your CPU power. However, No Coin can only block Coinhive at present.
When you visit websites, No Coin detects such mining activities and shows a red symbol. It is thus effective while trying to block cryptocurrency mining.
No Coin blocks domains that are blacklisted in the blacklist.txt. You can pause or un-pause the functioning. It is easy to block cryptocurrency mining without losing any of the other functionalities of your browser.
If you want, you can remove a particular site from the block list in order to add these sites to your CPU usage.
- Or, Install minerBlock.
minerBlock is similar to the No Coin extension. It is an open source tool for blocking cryptocurrency mining using your web browser.
But minerBlock has one more advantage—users can reverse the changes made. For instance, if you want to let a particular website or miner use your CPU power, it is possible to remove the specific site from the blacklist or blocked list.
Both of these extensions to block mining cryptocurrency have currently added a few of the more popular mining codes to the list and they will be adding many more as they increase in popularity.
- You can also opt for NoScript to block mining cryptocurrency if you are using Firefox.
- Similarly, if you are a Chrome user, you can opt for ScriptSafe.
These extensions can effectively block cryptocurrency mining from using your CPU power.
Step 3. Manual Blocking
If you are able to identify the miners, you can add their websites to your blocked domain list in whatever browser program you use. Your browser will then be unable to connect to the domains.
Step 4. Use Ad Blocking Software
Check out the instructions for your browser or system. For instance, if you are using Chrome, go to the extensions list and find AdBlock program.
- Click on the options and select the Customize tab.
- Click on Block ad based on the URL.
- Add this text: https://coin-hive.com/lib/coinhive.min.js
Is it Necessary to Block Cryptocurrency Mining?
These are some of the effective ways of protecting your device’s battery from shady practices. They can help you protect yourself from such miners using your web browser without your knowledge.
But is it really necessary to stop the practice of cryptocurrency mining from using your web browser and its processing power? Well, if the site notifies you about it and you’re okay with it, there’s no need to do anything.
You may also have to consider the load that your CPU is capable of and get information on the amount of processing power the site is planning to use.
Irrespective of the method that you choose for protecting your CPU power usage, you must be aware that the problem of mining cryptocurrencies is only increasing with the popularity of new and emerging digital currencies.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency mining has become very profitable, so there are plenty of PC and browser miners making use of user devices. It is therefore advisable to remain aware of the ways you can protect your web browser from such activities.