Web mining's advent was the opening of a veritable Pandora's box when it comes to users' peace of mind while surfing the internet. What started with The Pirate Bay's implementation and ended up with a full-on browser war against these injected, unauthorized hijacks of users' electricity and computing resources has now taken to one of the world's most known and visited websites: YouTube.
Users of YouTube started getting heads-up that something might be wrong due to their antivirus protection kicking off some cryptocurrency mining warnings that seemed to only pop up when users were visiting YouTube. These warnings kept popping up even after a web browser change, and then, on Friday, researchers from TrendMicro touched upon the issue, saying that YouTube's web mining injections had led to a more than three-fold spike in the total number of cryptocurrency web mining warnings. Luckily, the web mining exploit wasn't deployed across the entire world: Trend Micro researchers said that the attackers behind the ads were abusing Google's DoubleClick ad platform to display them to YouTube visitors in select countries, including Japan, France, Taiwan, Italy, and Spain.
In an e-mail sent to The Register, a Google representative wrote:
"Mining cryptocurrency through ads is a relatively new form of abuse that violates our policies and one that we've been monitoring actively. We enforce our policies through a multi-layered detection system across our platforms which we update as new threats emerge. In this case, the ads were blocked in less than two hours and the malicious actors were quickly removed from our platforms." Which apparently wasn't really the case, as trend Micro reported there where ads whose lifetime exceeded one week before being taken down.