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Chrome Extension Embeds In-Browser Monero Miner That Drains Your CPU

The authors of SafeBrowse, a Chrome extension with more than 140,000 users, have embedded a JavaScript library in the extension's code that mines for the Monero cryptocurrency using users' computers and without getting their consent.

The additional code drives CPU usage through the roof, making users computers sluggish and hard to use.

SafeBrowse uses same technology tested by The Pirate Bay

The intrusive and highly damaging behavior was noticed almost immediately, as the extension's Web Store page has filled up in the past few hours with negative reviews decrying the surge in CPU resource usage.

Looking at the SafeBrowse extension's source code, anyone can easily spot that its authors embedded the Coinhive JavaScript Miner, an in-browser implementation of the CryptoNight mining algorithm used by CryptoNote-based currencies, such as Monero, Dashcoin, DarkNetCoin, and others.

At the time of writing, the Coinhive JavaScript Miner, as described on its website, only supports Monero mining.

The above code starts a process that runs at all times in the browser's background and mines for Moner using the user's resources, but for the profits of the SafeBrowse authors.

Affected users include anyone who installed the SafeBrowse extension. The version featuring the Coinhive miner is 3.2.25. Chrome extensions use an auto-update system, so most SafeBrowse users will be updated to this version in the coming hours and days.

The addition of the Coinhive JavaScript Miner to SafeBrowse comes after The Pirate Bay experimented with the same technology as an alternative to showing ads on its site. Users who visited The Pirate Bay last Saturday did not see ads on the site, but the portal loaded a JavaScript file in their browsers that mined Monero for the torrent portal's owners.

SafeBrowse extension ruins your PC's performance

Bleeping Computer tested the extension, and the Monero mining operation is clearly visib...

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