September 26, 2018
Monero is a powerful tool that prioritizes privacy, security, decentralization, and fungibility. It includes several design components, including an accessible Proof of Work (PoW) algorithm and mandatory privacy to better meet these objectives. Monero is most often used for good. Thousands of transactions per day are used for speculation, securing the network, and for everyday purchases. Several nonprofits including UNICEF Australia, BailBloc, and Change.org allow users to mine Monero by simply visiting a website. The proceeds support various philanthropic causes. Other websites allow users to opt-in to mine instead of viewing advertising.
While the clear majority of users take advantage of these features for good, some attackers use Monero to earn money from machines without users' consent. They may run miners on webpages that activate without a user's consent. They may infect machines or hide it in other packages and run mining software. They may infect machines, encrypt the local files, and demand a ransom payment in Monero.
The Monero community condemns this malicious, non-consensual use of equipment to mine. Unfortunately, the Monero network itself benefits by having a wide set of stakeholders mine, since the network's security is afforded through a distributed set of users. While restricting mining to specialized equipment largely eliminates malicious mining, it doesn't eliminate ransomware, and it introduces security compromises that the Monero community is not comfortable with. Monero contributors build the best tool possible; they should not make it less secure even if it means the accessible system provides easier access to criminals too. However, the Monero community does not want to sit idly by as victims struggle to understand the impact of mining and ransomware. Most of these victims have no idea what mining and Monero are.
We created a set of resources that explain the basics of Monero and mining. We also have resources explaining and helping stop/remove unwanted in-browser mining, system mining, and ransomware. The website is purposefully approachable to absolute newcomers so that anyone can understand, though it offers actionable information that novices and experts alike can follow. It's our mission to resolve an unfortunate situation as well as possible.
The Monero Malware Workgroup is a self-organized set of volunteers that maintains these resources and provides live support. In the future, we will provide support from our website directly, but you can interact with our volunteers today at #monero-mrw, accessible on Freenode, Riot/Matrix, Mattermost, and Slack. If you would like to join our workgroup, hang out there and help us answer questions!
We will not be able to eliminate malicious mining, but we hope to provide necessary education for people to better understand Monero, what mining is, and how to remove malware.