Everyone has an opinion on Bitcoin. The virtual currency has found itself in the midst of speculation and controversy, but it is as much intriguing as it is confusing for people. The endless opportunities and myriad possibilities that this digital token has opened up across various industries and domains has allowed it to amass a multibillion in its relatively few years of existence. And given that the total market cap of cryptocurrencies as a whole stands somewhere around 200 billion, that is truly an astounding figure.
The recent market corrections and price fluctuations are part of the industry norms and cycle. But, given its increasing popularity, no wonder some entities can go to any lengths to mine this precious and popular coin, even at the risk of tarnishing their own image and even when it involves misusing other's resources.
What is Bitcoin Mining?
According to investopedia
The process through which transactions are verified and then added to the public ledger known as the blockchain is called Bitcoin Mining. This allows new bitcoins to be released. And essentially, anyone with access to the internet and appropriate hardware can take part in the mining of Bitcoin.
The Dark Side of Bitcoin Mining
There are several reports in the recent past when it was brought to light that popular sites and reputed companies were accessing and using the resources of their userbase to mine Bitcoins without their knowledge.
Recent cases of torrent sites, like the popular PirateBay anonymously mining bitcoins using the CPU power of their users was revealed. Essentially, the computing power of users who visited such sites through their computers and smartphones was hijacked to mine bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.
Then there is the recent instance of the television giant CBS, whose popular Showtime websites were apparently hacked to run a mining code to harness about 60% of the processing capacity of its visitors' computer's to mine Monero.
Even individuals are trying to access official resources for the unofficial purpose of mining bitcoin. Like in the case of Government officials from Crimea who were using state owned computers to mine bitcoins. As per sources,
They put malicious software on the server of the Crimean government, which opened access to the information stored on it. Concurrently, more than a dozen computers in the basement of the building were also used which gave this same access.
The officials were caught on time and dismissed, but this shows the lure of Bitcoins can corrupt even ministers entrusted with the well being of citizens.
While the Dark Side of Bitcoin mining has been brought to light, there are several positive instances as well, and people who are trying innovative ways to advance the current processes we have in place. Take for instance, the case where Bitcoin Mining can go towards an environmental friendly direction and the power of the sun can be harnessed to mine cryptos. Such an eco-friendly model can be both profitable and sustainable.
Users need to be wary when they surf the net and encounter unexpected behavior of their systems like slow speed and hanging. This article details important ways to check if your computer is being accessed secretly for Bitcoin Mining. Essentially,
You should monitor your CPU usage for anomalies.
You should use Ad Blockers while surfing.
You need to beware of Malware