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E-Sports League Stuffed Bitcoin Mining Code Inside Client Software

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the not-how-you-do-it dept.

Bitcoin 223

hypnosec writes "The E-Sports Entertainment Association (ESEA) gaming league has admitted to embedding Bitcoin mining code inside the league's client software. It began as an April Fools' Day joke idea, but the code ended up mining as many as 29 Bitcoins, worth over $3,700, for ESEA in a span of two weeks. According to Eric Thunberg, one of the league's administrators, the mining code was included as early as April. Tests were run for a few days, after which they 'decided it wasn't worth the potential drama, and pulled the plug, or so we thought.' The code was discovered by users after they noticed that their GPUs were working away with unusually high loads over the past two weeks. After users started posting on the ESEA forums about discovery of the Bitcoin mining code, Thunberg acknowledged the existence of a problem – a mistake caused a server restart to enable it for all idle users." ESEA posted an apology and offered a free month of their Premium service to all players affected by the mining. They've also provided data dumps of the Bitcoin addresses involved and donated double the USD monetary value of the mined coins to the American Cancer Society.

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first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604217)

first

Re:first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604255)

You won absolutely nothing, congratulations!

Except... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604511)

You won absolutely nothing, congratulations!

Except he did get your recognition.

Re:Except... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604543)

Again, to repeat myself ---

You won absolutely nothing, congratulations!

Trust (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604239)

It's all fun and games, until someone pokes a hole in your trust.

Sounds handled fairly well (4, Insightful)

magarity (164372) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604243)

Sure, it was rather poor form to have started on this project, even as a joke, but it seems they've fessed up and handled it well.

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604411)

Absolutely not, for an organization that is striving for legitimacy this is an extreme breach of trust.

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604597)

Absolutely not, for an organization that is striving for legitimacy this is an extreme breach of trust.

So admitting wrongdoing, giving credit, and donating the money to a nonprofit is an "Extreme breach of trust"?
How do you figure that?

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604789)

I figure that because it happened in the first place, which is completely inexcusable. What were they thinking? What's to say it won't happen again? You know that old saying from Tennessee, well, from Texas, but probably from Tennessee too: fool me once, shame on, hmm, shame on you, fool me... well, you can't get fooled again.

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604873)

Yeah, it shouldn't be illegal to rob a bank if you give the money back... right?

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (4, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605065)

Yeah, it shouldn't be illegal to rob a bank if you give the money back... right?

There is a problem with your post. They didn't rob a bank. So it's not like that at all.

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (1)

fibonacci8 (260615) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605131)

No, it's more like plugging in a bunch of machinery using a bank's electricity to craft something, then giving the precedes to charity... but only after getting caught.

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (5, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604905)

They hardly "admitted wrongdoing". They made up absurd stories about how it was all an April Fool's joke, and lied about how long it had been active and how much money they had made.

(Consider this: Which part of this "April Fool's joke" was supposed to actually be FUNNY? It was installed in secret. If it was hidden from you, how were you supposed to laugh at it?)

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605199)

We're also supposed to take them at their word that only 29 bitcoins were mined. Sure they provided the dumps. How much are they holding back?

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (5, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605339)

Consider this: Which part of this "April Fool's joke" was supposed to actually be FUNNY?

I ask myself that every time I visit /. on April 1st.

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604947)

if you steal 100$ from me, recompense me less than that, and donate either the remainder or more
to charity... you are still a thief. I will donate what I care to donate, when and where. No one has any right
to force me otherwise, 'cept of course my gov, through taxation.

esea = thieves... they gave it to the poor, but they sure as shit stole it... and those stolen from
have received a pittance.

Re: Sounds handled fairly well (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43605165)

Doing it in the first place, I don't really get how their "apology", which basically came down to blaming an unnamed employee, makes up for stealing resources from your customers, and in some cases damaging their hardware.

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604561)

Sure, it was rather poor form to have started on this project, even as a joke, but it seems they've fessed up and handled it well.

... After they were caught with their hand in the cookie jar, yes. Meanwhile, were I, a non-corporation, to do something like this, the FBI would be coming through my door with a bunch of dudes with shotguns for an enhanced "interview" over my connections to terrorism, money laundering, etc.

So, my question is... whether intentional or accidental, it happened. That means it's a crime. So... where is the charge sheet, mmm?

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604655)

It was $4k in bitcoins, they fessed up, they paid back the users, they made a good faith payment to a charity....

If we're going to be a software "community" we have to have standards for people who make mistakes to address them and move on. They have have called foul on themselves and taken a two stroke penalty.

Let it go.

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (4, Interesting)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604741)

What the GP said still stands. If he, as a person and not a corporation had done exactly that, admitting it, and donating the results would fall very short from freeing his ass from prosecution. He would more likely than not end in jail.

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604771)

What the GP said still stands. If he, as a person and not a corporation had done exactly that, admitting it, and donating the results would fall very short from freeing his ass from prosecution. He would more likely than not end in jail.

Shhh... don't spoil it. I'm enjoying the slashdotters trying to rage against overbearing police authority and misunderstanding technology ... while at the same time having to balance out corporate versus private individual rights, and for the bonus round it's something that ties directly in with their online privacy. I got some popcorn, wanna share? This is gonna be good...

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604827)

By all means. I will bring the soft drinks.

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (1)

networkBoy (774728) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605279)

I've got some pizza.

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605211)

No, they've admitted to $4k.

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (2)

timmyf2371 (586051) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604977)

What they did was a mistake and it was wrong to do so. But are we sure it's actually a crime?

Looking at the facts:-

- ESEA released software which people downloaded and willingly installed so it would be a big stretch to call it a bot net.
- The software did what it said on the tin but it also did something else without advertising this fact to the users.
- What it was doing is probably only relevant if mining bitcoins was illegal anyway.

So what makes ESEA's software any different from operating systems which run processes in the background without explicitly stating which processes these are? What is the difference compared to some of the TV catch up services (e.g. Sky catch-up and BBC iPlayer) which use P2P to offload bandwidth usage from the providers onto the users of the software?

IANAL etc but I'm genuinely interested to understand what law might have been broken here and whether there is any legal precedent.

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605119)

Sure, it was rather poor form to have started on this project, even as a joke, but it seems they've fessed up and handled it well.

... After they were caught with their hand in the cookie jar, yes. Meanwhile, were I, a non-corporation, to do something like this, the FBI would be coming through my door with a bunch of dudes with shotguns for an enhanced "interview" over my connections to terrorism, money laundering, etc.

So, my question is... whether intentional or accidental, it happened. That means it's a crime. So... where is the charge sheet, mmm?

There is a subtle difference that you seem to be missing. The difference is 'mens rea'.

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (1)

SethJohnson (112166) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605267)

That means it's a crime. So... where is the charge sheet, mmm?

Well, corporations are people [wikipedia.org] , so a criminal charge against the ESEA should be forthcoming.

Re: Sounds handled fairly well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43605067)

How so, they blamed an unnamed employee claiming he did it for financial gain. Except somehow the have access to the wallet.

Re:Sounds handled fairly well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43605373)

They didn't stop when they realized it because they are honest, they stopped when were caught. Then they told some story saying it was 2 days and 300$. They were caught again and admitted it was 18 days and 3000$. And they're trying to say, "we're sorry, but don't worry, we're nice, really. It was all a mistake". That's hard to believe. You don't make such an elaborate project work by mistake "because of a server reboot". And during this time they reveived plenty of reports from their users about weird gpu activity. It wasn't a joke or a mistake, they did it intentionally, and they're not even admitting it. So, no, they're not handling it well at all.

Computer Trespass (5, Insightful)

Peter Mork (951443) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604249)

This sounds an awful lot like computer trespass: coercing somebody else's computer into doing something on your behalf. If an individual pulled this stunt, he or she would be in prison.

Re:Computer Trespass (5, Insightful)

ThorGod (456163) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604317)

Yep, but instead the company involve just pays a fine. That's the only way companies pay for crimes...with dollars.

Even if you're BP and you severely damage one of the world's oceans and kill an uncountable amount of wildlife and destroy whole ecosystems.

Re:Computer Trespass (5, Funny)

lgw (121541) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604399)

See, BPs big mistake was to put out the fire. As everyone knows:

Birds soaked in oil: evil

Birds fried in boiling oil : tasty!

Don't forget the human victims (4, Insightful)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604765)

Several people died in the explosions on the drilling rig. However (un)important the damage to the economy and the wildlife is, no human being gets away with killing someone and getting convicted to "only a fine", but a company like BP does.

Re:Don't forget the human victims (0)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605313)

14 people died in the West Texas fertilizer plant explosion last week. 3 people died in the Boston Bombings. One sparked a citiy wide lock down and door to door manhunt for the responsible party. In the other, the responsible party is well known, and remains a free man. I don't have to tell you which is which.

Re:Computer Trespass (4, Interesting)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604381)

Probably so. Of course, the question this begs, at least in my mind, is not one of, "Why aren't these people in prison?", but rather, "Why does anyone go to prison over something so innocuous?"

Granted, you can definitely engage in forms of trespass that are much worse than this, but for something like this situation, which was promptly handled, had no major ill effects, and was responded to in a way that indicates it truly was a mistake, I don't see why anyone should be up for prison time, whether as an individual or a part of a company.

Re: Computer Trespass (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604491)

"Why does anyone go to prison over something so innocuous?"

Because when a group of people plan and execute it this type of thing it's called conspiracy. What if it was a big company using your CPU cycles for processing data for a third party? How about a government (foreign or domestic) processing data about people for the purposes of spying?

Is the difference the party stealing your CPU cycles, or what they are doing with it? If it was in the EULA would that make it OK?

It's NEVER right to use YOUR computer without YOUR knowledge and YOUR approval.

Re: Computer Trespass (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604843)

Agreed, but that doesn't mean that prison time is warranted. Note that I never suggested that they should go unpunished. A fine would seem to make much more sense, or mandatory compensation/reparations to the victims. Something that fits the crime, essentially, rather than defaulting to prison time for no apparent reason.

Re: Computer Trespass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43605111)

Except the law says otherwise. And to not apply the law because its a corporation reduces the deterrent value of the law.

Re: Computer Trespass (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605207)

That's nice and all for the law, but as I pointed out with my first post in this thread, the question is not one of applying the law, but rather of why the law is what it is. I'd certainly agree that the law should be applied evenly both to corporations and individuals, but I'd also suggest that the law is providing an excessive punishment in cases such as these, and that it should be changed to something that better fits the nature of the crime. For instance, reparations to the victims and a fine, rather than jail time.

And, once again, that would apply to individuals as well.

Re:Computer Trespass (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604553)

Granted, you can definitely engage in forms of trespass that are much worse than this, but for something like this situation, which was promptly handled, had no major ill effects, and was responded to in a way that indicates it truly was a mistake, I don't see why anyone should be up for prison time, whether as an individual or a part of a company.

But they are ignoring the costs of the clean-up. Every single user that had their system compromised like that needs to check everything from scratch to verify that the sports league software didn't compromise their systems in any other ways.

The costs of that is probably in the millions. I mean major companies who already have staff on hand to handle that sort of thing as part of their regular duties routinely claim tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in clean-up costs, multiply that by all the of the different users here and the cost is enormous.... :)

Re:Computer Trespass (2)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605161)

But they are ignoring the costs of the clean-up. Every single user that had their system compromised like that needs to check everything from scratch to verify that the sports league software didn't compromise their systems in any other ways.

I'm sorry, but no. You could apply the same logic to any other piece of software that was ever installed on any system ever. Unless you verified every line of code, how can you be sure that there wasn't some reused code from another project which had unwanted, but unnoticed behavior? Do you realize how often even unintentional backdoors are discovered in software because pieces were (often lazily) included from other working pieces?

I'm sorry, but the instant you install ANY software that you didn't write yourself, or verify line-by-line, you cannot be certain that your system isn't compromised.

Re:Computer Trespass (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604613)

Why does anyone go to prison over something so innocuous?

I broke into your car last night, but I didn't take anything. You wouldn't even know, if not for this message I'm leaving for you. Now, out of curiousity, does it feel innocuous to you to have your personal space violated? There was no harm done, right? Nothing was taken. You wouldn't even have known about it otherwise.

So, you have no reason to feel violated, correct? And I could do the same thing by coming into your house, correct? You know, where your computer is.........

Re:Computer Trespass (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604717)

Your analogy would suggest that they broke into these computers. Quite the contrary. A better analogy might be that you invited me into your car (i.e. willingly downloaded the software), and I left behind a magnet that would pick up any loose change you dropped, but then I later thought better of it, let you know what I had done, and tried my best to make reparations.

Again, innocuous.

Re:Computer Trespass (3, Informative)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604815)

Nah, a better analogy is, you hired me to change your tires, and I decided to put stuff in your car and copy your car lock to be able to access it and get my stuff whenever I wanted. Then when you found out I had copied the car keys I apologized and donated the results of my endeavor to a charity.

Analogies are always wrong in the end, but wrong as it may be mine is still a lot better than yours.

Re:Computer Trespass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604831)

I think it's more like "Whenever you're not using your car I take it out for a spin and use it for my own profit. I've earned like $3000 using your car in the past weeks. I'm very careful and cover my tracks well. If it wasn't for this note admiting my wrong doing you'd probably never find out, even though you've been suspicious for the past couple of weeks because the mileage keeps increasing and the tank's always running low. But, hey, no harm no foul, right? Right?!"

Re:Computer Trespass (2)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605223)

Here's a better analogy:

They included some code in their software that intentionally performed unnecessary calculations.

Re:Computer Trespass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604727)

"innocuous"? Some people lost their GPUs.

Re:Computer Trespass (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604863)

"innocuous"? Some people lost their GPUs.

Sure, but they still have their ABCDEFHIJKLMNOQRSTVWXYZs so it's no big deal.

Re:Computer Trespass (5, Interesting)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605013)

Probably so. Of course, the question this begs, at least in my mind, is not one of, "Why aren't these people in prison?", but rather, "Why does anyone go to prison over something so innocuous?"

Granted, you can definitely engage in forms of trespass that are much worse than this, but for something like this situation, which was promptly handled, had no major ill effects, and was responded to in a way that indicates it truly was a mistake, I don't see why anyone should be up for prison time, whether as an individual or a part of a company.

Leaving it running for at least 2 weeks is not exactly promptly in my book. Even putting it in the release code disabled, without notification, is shady as hell. The forums are apparently riddled with complaints about gpu problems, including dead graphics cards on machines running the bitcoin software. While it's entirely possible it's pure co-incidence, it's also entirely possible they damaged thousands of dollars worth of high end graphics cards - which given they can easily cost $500 a pop, wouldn't take many. Consumer grade GPUs aren't designed to run full throttle for weeks at a time. Especially if, for example, a gamer has a manual fan control so they can shut up the half dozen case fans when idling, and ramp them up when they start a gaming session (I use this exact setup). A couple of generations back, I fitted after market copper heatsinks and fans to my GPUs to improve cooling at lower fan speeds, but the downside was they had to be manually controlled via a rheostat, so if something like this had been running without my knowledge it could easily have literally cooked my gpus without me being any the wiser as I ramped them down when to cut noise I was just browsing slashdot et al. Those cards are still trucking in a friend's machine several years later, incidentially.

Criminal damage in the course of trespass for profit? Seriously bad judgement, and really not funny. Worth jail time? No. Worth some real consequences? Yes.

Re:Computer Trespass (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605173)

I'd certainly agree. I definitely believe that they deserve to be punished, but I also believe that the punishment should fit the crime, and jail time seems to be excessive for something such as this. Reparations to the victims and a fine would seem to make the most sense.

Re:Computer Trespass (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605221)

Granted, you can definitely engage in forms of trespass that are much worse than this, but for something like this situation, which was promptly handled, had no major ill effects, and was responded to in a way that indicates it truly was a mistake, I don't see why anyone should be up for prison time, whether as an individual or a part of a company.

They deserve to face prison time because Aaron Swartz, Andrew Auernheimer, Matthew Keys, Eric McCarty, Stefan Puffer, Bret McDanel all faced prison time for less malicious activites. Either you throw the book at everyone, throw the book at no one, or you have a farcical justice system.

Re:Computer Trespass (1)

gehrehmee (16338) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604439)

This is one of those cases where hitting a score of 5 doesn't quite cut it. The double-standard here is pretty stark and depressing.

Re:Computer Trespass (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604713)

This sounds an awful lot like computer trespass: coercing somebody else's computer into doing something on your behalf. If an individual pulled this stunt, he or she would be in prison.

Based on this section of ESEA's statement, it was an individual who pulled this stunt.

It came to our attention last night, however, that an employee who was involved in the test has been using the test code for his own personal gain since April 13, 2013. What transpired the past two weeks is a case of an employee acting on his own and without authorization to access our community through our company's resources.

Re: Computer Trespass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43605139)

Honestly, if it was just an employee who snuck this in then how do they have access to the wallet?

Re:Computer Trespass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43605039)

Who was coerced into installing that software? Whether the software was malware or not, shouldn't they have called the police as soon as they had regained some safety? The coercion issue is way bigger than the bitcoin/powerdraining issue. Unless, that is, the coercion never really happened.

Re:Computer Trespass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43605103)

This sounds an awful lot like computer trespass: coercing somebody else's computer into doing something on your behalf. If an individual pulled this stunt, he or she would be in prison.

Explain the coercion, and what law you think that relates to. You run the software, it did not damage the integrity your system, or violate any laws, it simply utilized system resources in a way any other application could legitimately have.

At worst, you could only classify this software as "malware", which is easily fully legal.

If you people think this is illegal, you should realize the only thing separating it from some open source software with a runaway CPU/GPU bug is intent..
You'll have a stupefying hard time [dis]proving intent of a computer program in court for one thing, and for another, almost every EULA written contains some not fit for a particular purpose legalese. I'm not sure I've ever heard that software authors need permissions to do any particular random thing with your system anyway after someone (anyone) puts it there.

the clear takeaway (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604251)

It's OK to add secret bit-mining code to client software as long as you do it on April 1.

How much? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604281)

29 Bitcoins, worth over $3,700

So one bitcoin is worth roughly USD$127? I imagine those who started all this bitcoin stuff are probably filthy rich by now... right?

Re:How much? (0, Troll)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604345)

Heh, if they can find someone to buy their bitcoins, which I'd imagine is becoming increasingly difficult.

Re:How much? (1, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604371)

If nobody's buying them or accepting them as currency, what is their value derived from?

I'll stick with my Canadian Tire dollars, thank you very much.

Re:How much? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604761)

It is so sad to see people speak on things they don't understand, particularly when the answer is in their own question. It doesn't even require knowledge; it just needs a bit of objective and clear minded reasoning.

When a thing is said to be currently traded at x dollars, it means that right now there are people buying and selling that thing for x dollars. Although volume is not explicit, it can be somewhat inferred from this as well.

Value is a function of subjective judgement, placed on two things by each individual. Some person A wants to prefers getting some bitcoin to not taking the time out of his day to do so. He wants y amount of bitcoin more than he wants x amount of his dollars. That is how value is 'derived'. That is who is buying bitcoin. Whether or not bitcoin is a useful and sound form of currency I cannot say, but these insipid FUD comments dismissing it are just stupid.

Re:How much? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43605247)

Oh get fucked and play pyramid poker with someone else's money.

Re:How much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604359)

Last price:$120.30000
High:$141.90000
Low:$104.00000
Volume:169141 BTC
Weighted Avg:$122.02937
- https://mtgox.com/ [mtgox.com]

Re:How much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604363)

No, they didn't hand out bit coins like water. There would be no value in that.

Re:How much? (0)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604369)

It was up to something like $280 recently. But the people who started it aren't making that money. It's not like they made money out of thin air and sold it.

Re:How much? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604461)

All I keep reading is that it's costing more and more in processing time to mine a single bitcoin, so I'm assuming that the creators were able to mine a shitload of bitcoins with lesser resources at the very beginning.

Re:How much? (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605251)

The big question is: How long did they hold onto that 'shitload' of bitcoins?

While mathematically clever, they were probably not also clairvoyant. Granted, with such low initial investment costs, they could afford to hold onto them for a longer time than people who invested at higher prices, but they would have had no way of knowing that $10/bitcoin wasn't the peak before the fall.

Re:How much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604465)

Ok, think for a second. The mining of coins get harder. At the very start, you could mine many bitcoins a day.
Now guess who were the first people that had the ability to mine these bitcoins?

The ones that made bitcoin likely have 1000s if not more. Of course there is a chance they already sold them all, but given that them and early adopters probably got the majority of bitcoins, they couldn't really dump them all in one go.

Re:How much? (4, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604689)

Sure they are (making money). It's estimated that Satoshi Nakamoto (the anonymous inventor of BitCoin) got somewhere between one to one and a half million bitcoins in the early days, when they were very easy to generate (see the "total bitcoins" graph on wikipedia). Assuming he hasn't sold them off at some point in the past, they're currently worth somewhere between $120 million USD and $180 million USD. That's a pretty tidy profit for one person.

Re:How much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604835)

But he invented Bitcoin as a small-scale experiment, so there's an excellent chance he deleted that wallet before anyone else started attaching value to them and never made anything.

Re:How much? (3, Interesting)

joh (27088) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604939)

The spooky thing about that is: There is a limited amount of Bitcoins that will ever exist and new ones are getting more and more expensive to mine. This means that if Bitcoin ever will take off every single one of them would get more and more expensive. Bitcoin will top out at 21 million bitcoins. If you have one million bitcoins you will own about 5 percent of everything that can be bought with it. As in: If Bitcoin would become THE world currency at some point you would own 5 percent of the world. Of course even owning one bitcoin would make you stinking rich then.

Re:How much? (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605261)

As long as a sufficient number of people didn't decide that they didn't want you owning 5% of the world and just said "Nope."

Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604285)

How could bank robbery be an April Fool's joke?

Donated double the amount to ACS (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604291)

So, that's either a few fractions of a cent up to a million dollars....depending on the exchange rate at the particular time the money was donated.

Computer hacking... (5, Informative)

aaronb1138 (2035478) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604297)

I advocate the involved parties all be arrested and charged with relevant computer hacking charges. The software development community needs a clear message sent that such activities are federal crimes and will not be allowed. I don't understand why we are still tolerating a Wild Wild West attitude to computer crimes by corporations when the laws are on the books and quite clear.

Also, trying to pass it off as merely an April fools joke is insulting as well. The closest part to a joke was the Office Space grade conversation about skimming from their own customer base.

Re:Computer hacking... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604423)

The laws on the books aren't as clear as you think. "Hey, I didn't ask to mine BitCoins for someone else - what gives?!" is a logical user position, but I'm sure the license agreement that user agreed to upon installing basically gave them carte blanche to do whatever they wanted with his/her computer.

Which would hold up in court - and are you sure enough to foot the bill for representation until (and possibly even if) you prevail?

I'm not. I agree with you in spirit, but in this case their response was pretty classy.

Re:Computer hacking... (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604427)

Because the geographical lines are blurry on the internet

Re:Computer hacking... (4, Interesting)

NIK282000 (737852) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604457)

I think it sounds like a pretty awesome business plan if you are not underhanded about it. Release your software for free with a note in he TOS that you will be mining bitcoins for the developer whenever you are using the software. Users get "free" software and developers get incentive to make software that people want to use. If you release rubbish not many people will continue to use it and you won't get paid.

Re:Computer hacking... (1)

houghi (78078) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604481)

Because it is corporations. We can not harm corporations. Next you know you can't even make serious mistakes (or doing fraude) as a bank and get away with it.

Re:Computer hacking... (1)

montre16 (2912455) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605229)

Why would this activity even be illegal? It's proprietary software; the users have no right to see what's going on under the hood -- they have to take it as it is. They are willingly installing software without really being able to know what it does, and vendors aren't required in any meaningful way to disclose what the software really does. See, for example, Windows and MacOS. Furthermore, writing software to exploit users is certainly not uncommon practice, and using users to generate revenue is also not controversial, it seems. All we have here is a piece of really inefficient software that happens to have bitcoin generation as a side effect. The vendor could probably have fully disclosed this "feature" in the license agreement, which people would undoubtedly have agreed to without reading. I haven't bothered to find the license agreement for this particular piece of software, but it may well already be written in a way which absolves the vendor of legal responsibility for this unscrupulous activity.

What does... (1)

idontgno (624372) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604301)

..."They've also provided data dumps of the Bitcoin addresses involved" mean?

I'm not up on bitcoin minutia. If these d-bags were running miners, that means that they own the coins... their wallet. So, what addresses do they mean? Specific coin IDs?

Re:What does... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604395)

I assume they posted the wallet files with the encryption keys. This pretty much destroys that wallet for any sort of encryption purpose.

Re:What does... (2)

Tynin (634655) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604435)

..."They've also provided data dumps of the Bitcoin addresses involved" mean?

I'm not up on bitcoin minutia. If these d-bags were running miners, that means that they own the coins... their wallet. So, what addresses do they mean? Specific coin IDs?

Yes, they went to a wallet that the ESEA owned. In your wallet, you can setup numerous addresses that you can give to unique miners so you can see how many bitcoins specific miners are brining in. You can also just use a single address to have all of your bitcoins sent to. Either way, they'd all end up in the same wallet. As an example, here is the address I used when I first tried mining on a pool, you can use it to see how much I bothered to get from this specific pool.

1AiyVX1Ag87gar9E3oWb3QEziUHvDBRHax [blockchain.info]

90C+ temperatures (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604335)

Users vented their anger on the ESEA forums claiming that their video cards were maintaining over 90 celcius+ temperatures for extended period

Aside from not opening the source code for their client, the ESEA handled this situation well.

Your problems with your video card do not come from them. If you care about longevity and reliability, you need to stop overclocking your GPU and follow the manufacturer's instructions. By default, the hardware WILL shutdown if the virtual Tj reaches an unsafe level. If you disable that feature, don't cry when your card blows up. It could have easily happened while gaming.

(I am an electrical engineer. All our products are tested up to 85C ambient temperature, at maximum load. We only use driver ICs with built-in protection from overtemperature, overcurrent, and short-circuit.)

Re:90C+ temperatures (-1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604455)

So you are a hardware guy, expecting the software guys to kick in the fail safe when shit gets rough. If you have a high clock video card that has a fan fail, and is in the less-than-optimal air flow designed case, that thing will heat up until the driver crashes, the power supply pops, or something catches fire. 100% kernel level code all of the time was never designed for and will physically break things

Re:90C+ temperatures (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605353)

Users vented their anger on the ESEA forums claiming that their video cards were maintaining over 90 celcius+ temperatures for extended period

Aside from not opening the source code for their client, the ESEA handled this situation well.

Your problems with your video card do not come from them. If you care about longevity and reliability, you need to stop overclocking your GPU and follow the manufacturer's instructions. By default, the hardware WILL shutdown if the virtual Tj reaches an unsafe level. If you disable that feature, don't cry when your card blows up. It could have easily happened while gaming.

(I am an electrical engineer. All our products are tested up to 85C ambient temperature, at maximum load. We only use driver ICs with built-in protection from overtemperature, overcurrent, and short-circuit.)

It's good that your product can handle up to 85C at maximum load. That's a good way to check that your product can survive 85C at maximum load. But I'm a systems engineer, and the fact that your product can survive doesn't do me much good when I'm concerned about the increased failure rate when a product is run at 100% for an extended period of time.

Gaming Video cards were NOT designed to operate at 100% utilization for extended periods of time. That sort of activity will result in shorter lifespans regardless of the fact that it can survive a high temp environment for a short period of time.

Crime? (1)

grumpyman (849537) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604353)

Using somebody's resource for benefit for themselves, without consent? Like using using car repair shop to fix his car (or others) without telling the owner?

Re:Crime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604855)

If you insist on making a car analogy, it'd be more like commandeering your car every night and pushing the engine to its limits to earn a quick buck, all without asking your permission or paying for the gas.

Now call it what you want but at least those people whose gpus are displaying symptoms of damaged memory chips and were left with the excess power bill of a gaming grade gpu running an inch of its full power envelope every minute their client was on would probably object to the legality of such practice.

A joke? On who? (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604377)

Giving these idiots the benefit of the doubt, how the Hell does something like this get past the planning stage, let alone into the release client, before someone realizes 'Hey! This could cause drama'? Fuck, Uber Entertainment apparently did the same thing with Super Monday Night Combat, but at least they had the guts to announce it, and offer company scrip in return for putting extra wear on your hardware and power bill.

Re:A joke? On who? (1)

TherilAlPenn (870249) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604499)

Uber's thing is also a separate application that ran independently of the rest of their stuff, so not something you could just remotely turn on by accident. It's not even bundled with the game client or launcher; if you don't go looking for it, you won't have it.

Re:A joke? On who? (1)

Goaway (82658) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604929)

Hint: They're lying.

EULA (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604433)

Next time don't forget to add a Bitcoin clause

This fiasco begs a question. (2)

bdwoolman (561635) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604647)

If a developer was up front about a distributed bitcoin mining scheme being baked into their software, Would some people go for it as an option to amortize, or even pay for, some useful application? Is anybody doing this already? I am wondering about the economics of this. How much does it cost per hour of mining on a modern reasonably energy efficient x86 box?

Re:This fiasco begs a question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604791)

If you agree to mine bitcoins on behalf of the vendor, the vendor is going to credit you with at most the expected value of the bitcoins. Which, as many recent articles have pointed out, is less than the cost of the electricity you'll burn through.

This only works for the user if someone else is paying for the electricity.

Re:This fiasco begs a question. (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605371)

I've never seen an instance of amortizing the cost of anything in which the total amount paid was less than paying for something outright. Cars, furniture, computers, phones, homes...

And thats a lawsuit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43604473)

You admitted doing it... You're now on the hook for theft and computer tresspass. Which last i looked carried a potential jail time of 60 years.

Someone go get the lawyers. they'll love the easy money here.

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act applies (1)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604549)

This looks like criminal activity under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The "obtains anything of value" clause there seems to apply. When can we expect arrests?

Re:Computer Fraud and Abuse Act applies (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604859)

This looks like criminal activity under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The "obtains anything of value" clause there seems to apply. When can we expect arrests?

That would require the government asserting that bitcoins have actual value...

April Fools? Sure thing... (5, Insightful)

h8mx (2713391) | about a year and a half ago | (#43604581)

It began as an April Fools' Day joke idea

How exactly does that work?

"We were using your electricity and potentially damaging your computer for a whole month without your permission! APRIL FOOLS! Ha we got you good!"

Website with TOS? (1)

rthille (8526) | about a year and a half ago | (#43605157)

I wonder about a website which embedded javascript which mined bitcoins as long as you were active on the page. You could burry in the TOS that you were doing it to be on the up and up. Of course you'd want to throttle the JS so the user's fans didn't spin up and alert them, but still if you had a popular enough site, you might be able to make a pretty bit-penny...

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