There’s something new to add to your fun mental list of invisible internet dangers. Joining classic favorites like adware and spyware comes a new, tricky threat called “cryptojacking,” which secretly uses your laptop or mobile device to mine cryptocurrency when you visit an infected site.
The idea for cryptojacking coalesced in mid-September, when a company called Coinhive debuted a script that could start mining the cryptocurrency Monero when a webpage loaded. The Pirate Bay torrenting site quickly incorporated it to raise funds, and within weeks Coinhive copycats started cropping up. Hackers have even found ways to inject the scripts into websites like Politifact.com and Showtime, unbeknownst to the proprietors, mining money for themselves off of another site’s traffic.