UFC Website Caught Mining Monero Using Visitors’ Computers

UFC's official website was caught with its hand in its visitors' cookie jars as it began mining Monero using their CPUs.

Once again, another major site has been caught mining Monero using CoinHive’s client-side script that uses its visitors’ CPUs to do all the grunt work for them. This time it was the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s website (UFC.com).

Unlike other websites that chiefly rely on indirect revenue streams like advertising (where using CoinHive’s script could be understood at least to a certain extent), UFC’s visitors pay directly for the content they want to watch.

So, not only were they paying a premium to view matches and exclusive content on the platform but they were also unknowingly providing it with another steady revenue stream.

Visitors from all over the world silently mined cryptocurrencies for the site’s owners, wondering why their computers were performing so slowly.

This event could have been the result of hackers injecting the script into the site’s code, similar to what happened with PolitiFact, a popular website in the United States that fact-checks the statements of the country’s politicians.

By the time we are reporting this, the script on UFC’s site has disappeared, which leads us to believe that they may have been actively testing it. It’s still possible that hackers may have infiltrated the website, but we have yet to see a statement from UFC’s administrative body.

Earlier in the year, The Pirate Bay was caught testing the same scheme on its visitors in a bit to generate revenue off of Monero mining as opposed to advertising.

In lieu of other solutions that efficiently circumvent the ad blockers installed in many of their visitors’ browsers, these websites have begun testing more subtle methods of acquiring revenue from users that do not want to see their ads.

While one could certainly understand their dilemma, the solution they’ve come up with is difficult to empathize with.

On the other hand, if CoinHive’s Monero mining script could somehow limit the amount of CPU power it uses, this could reduce (but definitely not eliminate) the amount of potential discontent that visitors would have.