Salon offers crypto-mining option instead of ads

US magazine Salon in novel bid to fight rise of ad blockers

In order to combat the trend of ad-blocking, media company Salon is wooing its readers by asking them to let the website use their computing processing power to mine a cryptocurrency called Monero. Essentially, Salon is moving the cost of readership from advertising revenue to cryptocurrency mining, an idea that was floated by MIT students in November 2013.

Readers using software to avoid seeing adverts are presented with a pop-up window, says the Financial Times, which asks them if they would like to use their computers' processing power for "calculations".

"Ad-blockers cut deeply into our revenue and create a more one-sided relationships between reader and publisher", said Salon.

The media outlet has updated its website to require users to disable their ad-blockers for the right to read articles - or alternatively, lend their CPU power to mine Moreno, the thirteenth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

It turns out that Salon is also using Coinhive, the same service as the hackers, which has grown so widespread that security company Malwarebytes reported a year ago that it had become one of the main services its anti-malware software blocks.

Thus before allowing any website to allow them to use your computer's processing power, one must be always aware of other repercussions as well.

"We noticed you're using an ad blocker". If you opt for the latter deal, Salon will invite you to install a software plugin - Coinhive - that allows the media publication to mine Monero cryptocurrency.

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"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".

The BBC says that Salon has not been targeted by cyber criminals and that the United States publication asks its readers for permission before using the mining tool.

The move comes as the online publishing model comes under increasing strain. Salon doesn't say it will be using Monero anywhere on its website.

There's no word on exactly how much spare computing power will be sucked up.

Hotness is very literal in this case, by the way, because any time you visit Salon from now on, your CPU will be used to mine cryptocurrency on their behalf. If you click "learn more" to find out about the cryptocurrency mining, your computer immediately begins working for Salon before anyone can knowledgeably opt-in.

Salon goes on to explain the mining process by saying it's borrowing the power to solve complex calculations. This version of Browsealoud infected the government websites with Coinhive code, which is used to generate monero tokens. Similarly, a Google Chrome extension with over 100,000 users was also caught using Coinhive without consumer permission. "Nothing is ever installed on your computer and Salon never has access to your personal information or files".

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