In addition to hiding cryptocurrency miners in the coding of websites, malicious actors may also increasingly conceal them within advertisements appearing on these sites, according to a new report from CoinDesk, citing officials from the Israeli adtech firm Spotad.
The mining activity was recently detected on Spotad's network, after its artificial intelligence-driven ad platform detected anomalies in the code of certain desktop and mobile legitimate ads, the report continues. Further analysis revealed that the ads were designed to trick viewers into clicking a pop-up that would execute a miner for Monero cryptocurrency.
Despite the proliferation of Bitcoin, Monero has become a popular choice of digital currency to mine because transactions are highly anonymous in nature.
"Look at what's happening today around this entire cryptocurrency world. You see how much money is involved, you see the volume picking up week by week," said Tomer Horev, Spotad chief strategy officer, according to CoinDesk. "I think people identify that as the next gold rush and they will try to do everything that they can in order to produce this kind of money."
The agency that provided the ad reportedly was not aware it had been tainted with malicious code, company co-founder Yoav Oz told the media outlet.