Report: Showtime Caught Mining Cryptocoins in Viewers’ Browsers

Websites owned by CBS subsidiary Showtime secretly used viewers’ web browsers to mine cryptocurrency over the weekend, according to a report.

According to the Register, “The flagship Showtime.com and its instant-access ShowtimeAnytime.com sibling silently pulled in code that caused browsers to blow spare processor time calculating new Monero coins – a privacy-focused alternative to the ever-popular Bitcoin.”

“The hidden software typically consumed as much as 60 percent of CPU capacity on computers visiting the sites,” they continued, adding, however, that “it’s extremely unlikely that a large corporation like CBS would smuggle such a piece of mining code onto its dot-coms – especially since it charges subscribers to watch the hit TV shows online – suggesting someone hacked the websites’ source code to insert the mining JavaScript and make a quick buck.”

Despite theories, New Relic, an analytics company that Showtime uses, claimed to have had no part in the secret code, and added that it was likely added by the websites’ developers.

“We take the security of our browser agent extremely seriously and have multiple controls in place to detect malicious or unauthorized modification of its script at various points along its development and deployment pipeline,” declared New Relic’s Andrew Schmitt. “Upon reviewing our products and code, the HTML comments shown in the screenshot that are referencing newrelic were not injected by New Relic’s agents. It appears they were added to the website by its developers.”

Last week, The Pirate Bay was also discovered to be utilizing its users’ browsers to mine cryptocurrency.

The Pirate Bay, who admitted they were using the code as an alternative to adverts, claimed it was “only a test,” and quickly gave up on the monetization attempt following complaints.

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington and Gab @Nash, or like his page at Facebook.


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