How Pirating Online Porn Can Cost You Money

CYBERSPACE—If you download porn videos from torrent sites, or watch porn on streaming sites such as or Openload, you may have noticed that your computer seems a little sluggish, or a lot sluggish, lately. The reason has nothing to do with porn itself—though there are plenty of other reasons to avoid illegal, pirated porn—or even viruses planted on your computer by the sites.

In fact, when you download pirated porn from certain sites, your computer may actually be helping someone else get rich. According to a report earlier this month by the , several large torrent and streaming sites have installed software that secretly takes over the CPU on visitors computers to “mine” BitCoin and other forms of digital “cryptocurrency.”

In other words, when you visit those sites to find porn, or any other type of content, your computer may be working overtime to generate digital money for the operators of those sites.

To understand what’s slowing down your computer, we first need to understand . Think of it this way—the reason “real” money is worth anything is simply that governments of the world agree that it is. Governments control how much money circulates at any time, and only a central government can add to the money supply by printing new cash.

But the whole point of cryptocurrency is to avoid governments altogether. What cannot be avoided are the basic laws of economics, like the law of supply and demand. While in theory anyone can create a BitCoin, or unit of any cryptocurrency, if too many “coins” are created—that is, “mined”—the cryptocurrency would be worthless.

That’s why, to mine a single unit of cryptocurrency, a “miner” must solve an extraordinarily complex math problem—one which requires a massive amount of computing power, and electricity, to figure out.

And that’s where the illegal porn torrent and streaming sites come in. According to Gizmodo, sites including the torrenting giant Pirate Bay and smaller but hugely popular pirate streaming sites like Streamnago and others have been secretly installing and running software on the computers of unsuspecting users — software that works together with a large network of computers to generate enough electricity-hogging CPU power to solve the math questions required to create units of an open-source .

\Unlike BitCoin, Monero has privacy built in for transactions carried out in the cryptocurrency. Monero can also be mined using consumer-ready personal computers, where BitCoin requires high-end, industrial-strength processors.

But while the site operators appear capable of creating over $300,000 per month in Monero currency units, the price is really paid by users—many of them porn fans in search of free, pirated clips—in the form of computer slowdowns and higher electric bills.

According to Gizmodo, the Monero-mining software known as could cost each user up to $5 per month in added electricity costs. Multiply that by the nearly one billion users whose computers may have been cyber-jacked to mine the cryptocurrency, and the true cost of the illegal mining operation becomes apparent.

Of course, the stealth mining software is not intended to cyberjack a user’s computer non-stop. But some versions of the software by the computer user—which is difficult if the user doesn’t know that the software is there.

“It’s clear this is an exploding problem,” wrote Gizmodo blogger Rhett Jones. “If you notice a strange slowdown in your computer’s performance, or the fan suddenly starts working overtime, you should check your CPU usage for anything fishy.”

The site also offers some useful advice for blocking the cryptocurrency mining software from your computer, . The web site for the popular online ad-blocking software AdGuard also offers information on how to avoid cyber-jacking by mining software, .