Coinhive: Goodbye! Nice to know you!

‘Cause baby, now we’ve got bad blood
You know it used to be mad love
So take a look what you’ve done
’Cause baby, now we’ve got bad blood, hey!
Now we’ve got problems
And I don’t think we can solve ’em
You made a really deep cut
And baby, now we’ve got bad blood, hey!

Taylor Swift, Bad Blood

Coinhive announced that they are closing shop March 8, 2019. I just tweeted the news as I was not in the mood to blog and write that day.

#Coinhive : Goodbye… Nice to know you— Menard Osena (@Menardconnect) February 28, 2019

And that night I thought about it more. I also visited and read my coinminer post (that incidentally turned 1 year 🙂 recently ), so allow me to share some personal insights here in my blog:

What does Coinhive closure mean?
This means the Coinhive JS files will STOP functioning on March 8, 2019. That day is same day as Monero/XMR fork (block 1788000), a move by the Monero community to be more ASIC-resistant.

Overall, this mean less web cryptojacking and this is beneficial for public. I remember at one point Coinhive got a 30% hashing power for all Monero mining network. I don’t have updated hashing power estimates of coinhive and Monero but one thing for sure coinhive percentage is smaller now.

Should we celebrate it?
Yes of course. One bad actor gone is always good news for me (and I guess for the the rest of the good guys too!)
But let us not lower our guards because it is wise to consider the hydra effect (cut one head, grow two more).

Quo Vadis?
I am still seeing lots of MALXMR and other mal Coinminers out there so cryptocurrency malware mining is very much alive. There is a lot of factors at play here so as of the moment it’s difficult to guess what is in store for the coinmining and the overall threat landscape.

In my opinion, the motivation for the Cryptojacking threats is more related to the exchange/price of Bitcoin. Current Bitcoin is trading below 4K USD, this is a mere fifith of the peak value (remember highest BTC price tag is at around 20K USD, Dec 2017). Current BTC price is same level as Q3-2017 (pre-coinhive days in 2017). So I think that if BTC exchange/price increases, Monero/XMR price follows and we can sure to see increased malicious cryptojacking/mining activities.

So allow me to send some shoutout “Goodbye Coinhive, Nice to know you”!

Other articles you can check out ZDNET and Brian Krebs

Before I end this post, here are some disclosure/disclaimer:

I work at Trend Micro. The views expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone (and do not necessarily represent my employer’s positions, strategies or opinions). Read more about me here. You can contact me via twitter or linkedin