Over 500 million people are inadvertently mining cryptocurrencies through their computers after visiting websites that are running background mining software, researchers have discovered.
Research by ad blocking firm AdGuard found 220 popular websites with an aggregated audience of half a billion people use so-called crypto-mining scripts when a user opens their main page.
Visitors to the websites come from all over the world but the worst affected country is the U.S., with 18.7 percent of websites engaged in using in-browser cryptocurrency mining scripts coming from the United States.
The mining tool works by hijacking a computer’s central processing unit (CPU), commonly referred to as “the brains” of a computer. Using part of a computer’s CPU to mine bitcoin effects the machine’s overall performance and will slow it down by using up processing power.