St. Pölten UAS: Software Against Crypto Mining


ST. PÖLTEN, Austria, March 14, 2019 — It is a phenomenon known to almost all of us: you browse the web and suddenly your computer slows down and runs loudly. This could be due to so-called crypto mining, meaning the access to computer power to generate cryptocurrencies without the knowledge of the user. In response, the St. Pölten UAS has developed the open source software “CoinEater” which blocks unwanted access and is available as an add-on to Firefox and Chrome.

Since mining is a very computing-intensive process, cryptojacking can lead to reduced battery life on mobile devices. “Usually high-performance hardware is used to generate cryptocurrencies. Cryptojacking distributes mining between many, less powerful devices and poses a new form of threat on the Internet,” explains Sebastian Schrittwieser, Head of the Institute for IT Security Research at the St. Pölten UAS, who helped develop the software.

Ongoing Search for New Threats

A scanner developed at the Institute for IT Security Research automatically searches the Internet for cryptojacking at regular intervals. The researchers went through over one million of the most popular websites and uncovered that more than 3,000 sites digging for cryptocurrencies without their users’ knowledge.

“The use of such techniques is legitimate if website users agree to them, for instance, in order to hide advertisements,” says Schrittwieser. Cryptojacking, on the other hand, is a misuse of the users’ devices.

“Even though Coinhive, the largest provider of online mining software today, is going to discontinue its services soon, the problem will not be completely eradicated and mining could become more worthwhile once again later on,” explains Sebastian Schrittwieser. And the developed scanner can detect other providers of crypto mining and also recognises another new phenomenon on the Internet: pop-up scam. When visiting websites, users are confronted with pop-up windows containing ads or short messages which link them to fee-based offers or malware and which have to be tediously clicked away.

Download of the add-on for protection from crypto mining

Research Project PriSAd

The software CoinEater was developed St. Pölten UAS in the course of the research project PriSAd (Privacy and Security in Online Advertisement) and funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). IT security company Nimbusec was a partner of the project.

St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences

Mag. Mark Hammer

Section Head Press

Marketing and Communications

St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences

T: +43/2742/313 228 269

M: +43/676/847 228 269



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SOURCE Fachhochschule St. Pölten

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