CBS broadcaster websites contain Monero mining script for the weekend

Websites of the American channel CBS contained code last weekend that used the computing power of visitors’ CPUs to mine the cryptocurrency monero. It is unclear who put the code there.

The Register took screenshots of the scripts when they were still running. It involved two sites, namely Showtime and ShowtimeAnytime, where users can view CBS content. The scripts on the page came from Coinhive, a Javascript miner. It uses up to 60 percent of the CPU capacity to mine Monero, according to The Register. That is a cryptocurrency that emphasizes privacy.

It is unclear who posted the scripts to the site. They were near HTML tags from the analytics company New Relic. However, that defies having anything to do with it. CBS itself did not respond to questions. Coinhive was unable to provide any information about the account associated with the scripts, saying only that the related email address is a personal address and does not belong to CBS. Therefore, it appears that someone may have accessed the site’s source code.

The Coinhive service is quite new and has been available since the middle of this month. Previously, The Pirate Bay was in the news because the site used the service, according to its own words as a test for replacing advertisements. The service also appears to be popular with malware makers, Bleeping Computer recently wrote. For example, Coinhive code appeared in a popular Chrome extension called SafeBrowse.

The Coinhive team recently published a blog post complaining about sites using the code without informing their visitors. As a result, various ad blockers would already block the scripts. The team is working on a new implementation that requires an opt-in to run the code. Monero, unlike for example bitcoin or ether, is fairly easy to mine with consumer CPUs.