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Salon Magazine mining cryptocurrency with readers’ PCs

By Sheetal Sukhija, New Mexico State News
14 Feb 2018, 13:59 GMT+10

NEW YORK, U.S. - In one of the most audacious moves by a media organization, a U.S. magazine, Salon has informed its readers that it would be using their computers to mine cryptocurrency. 

Salon Magazine told readers in an update, "We intend to use a small percentage of your spare processing power to contribute to the advancement of technological discovery, evolution and innovation."

If one of its readers chooses to block its advertising, the publication will reportedly use that person's computer to mine a cryptocurrency similar to Bitcoin, Monero.

According to reports, the site is making use of CoinHive, which is a controversial mining tool that was recently used in an attack involving government websites in the U.K., U.S. and elsewhere.

However, in this case, Salon is notifying its users about the operation. 

The magazine also requires its users to agree before the tool begins mining.

After a user accepts a prompt asking for permission, the spare processing power of a user’s computer is used when the user is browsing Salon.com.

Soon after, the computer is put to work and readers will likely hear their machine's cooling fans kick into action, and it will use more power.

A security researcher Troy Mursch wrote in a statement, "I've opted-in to Salon's new revenue model using Coinhive. 100% of my CPU is now used by them to mine cryptocurrency. As my computer slows to crawl and quickly begins to heat up, I struggle to navigate their website."

Salon also told its readers that the idea was part of a trial.

The company explained, “For our beta program, we’ll start by applying your processing power to mine cryptocurrencies to recoup lost ad revenue when you use an ad blocker. We plan to further use any learnings from this to help support the evolution and growth of blockchain technology, digital currencies and other ways to better service the value exchange between content and user contribution."

Creating new tokens of a cryptocurrency requires complex calculations.

This uses up a lot of computing power.

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