A quick look at the source code of AfroVoice's homepage (formerly The New Age), indicates that the website of the media publication is mining the Monero cryptocurrency using its visitors CPUs. Mining cryptocurrencies using website visitors' processors is neither illegal nor unethical, however, not requesting consent from your website visitors to mine cryptocurrencies using their devices processing power is unethical.

AfroVoice is not the first known South African media website to use the CoinHive script to mine Monero. In 2017, Memeburn, a website that focusses on everything digital in emerging markets, shut down its website after a user complained of high CPU usage when visiting their website. It turned out that Memeburn had been running a CoinHive script to mine cryptocurrencies off their website using visitors' computers.

AfroVoice CoinHive

The New Age newspaper has rebranded to β€œAfro Voice”, and would appreciate it if you don’t block coinhive, so that they can use your spare CPU cycles to mine bitcoin, as old-school Zuma-with-a-suitcase money laundering doesn’t work so well anymore. @gee_forr/Twitter

We first got alerted to this when we saw @gee_forr's tweet and went on to the AftoVoice website and we could indeed verify that it was running CoinHive. Another indicator was when we turned off the web browser's Ad blocker and CPU usage on the computer increased sharply when we refreshed the AfroVoice website.


Some CoinHive use cases.

CoinHive has a JavaScript miner for the Monero Blockchain which it offers to websites looking to monetize, with consent, their visitors. Website administrators can embed the JavaScript code in their website after they sign up for an account. Once registered, a public site key and a private secret key are generated.

In October 2017 Cloudflare decided to classify CoinHive as malware and ban websites that run the script from using their services. This followed a report by Adguard that approximately 500 million people are unaware that they are mining cryptocurrencies for some of the websites they visit.

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