CBS Showtime Cryptocurrency Miner

Showtime.com has been caught running JavaScript code on viewers’ web browsers. The code steals CPU resources from viewers, then uses those resources to mine cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency miners are quickly becoming a new monetization scheme for online businesses. We expect to see it from The Pirate Bay and similar websites – but we didn’t expect to see it from Showtime, a subsidiary of CBS.

The JavaScript code was spotted this past weekend on two Showtime streaming websites, including Showtime.com and ShowtimeAnytime.com. It’s unclear who placed the code there – whether it was Showtime, a rogue employee, or a dedicated hacker.

The code forced your browser to spend spare processor time mining Monero. According to reports, the code took up 60% of CPU capacity on computers visiting the websites.

The Code Has Been Traced Back To Code Hive

The Monero mining script that appeared on Showtime.com wasn’t some mysterious, advanced code: it was a script written by Code Hive, a legitimate company that provides JavaScript-based cryptocurrency mining codes to website owners. Website owners insert the code into their website for an additional source of monetization.

It’s unclear how Code Hive is linked to the Showtime issue – if at all. However, they undoubtedly profited from it. All mining activity performed over Code Hive code goes towards the Code Hive pool before being transferred to website owners.

It’s Extremely Unlikely That CBS Is Behind It

CBS is one of the world’s largest media and entertainment companies. It seems highly unlikely they would smuggle a secret mining code onto one of their flagship websites – especially since they already charge subscribers to stream Showtime online.

This suggests that someone hacked the website’s source code to insert the mining script.

The issue was spotted this past weekend, although it’s possible the script had been running for days or even weeks.

Ultimately, as long as there’s money to be made in cryptocurrency mining, CPU usage attacks like this aren’t going to disappear anytime soon. In fact, we may see a future were cryptocurrency mining becomes a more popular monetization scheme that advertising.

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