Counter-Strike league admits rogue employee used players’ PCs to mine Bitcoins
Well-known Counter-Strike league the eSports Entertainment Association (ESEA) admitted today that one of their employees had distributed a patch for its anti-cheating software that used its players computers to “mine” for Bitcoins.
According to a statement released by the company, a group of employees within the ESEA was considering the possibilities of utilizing idle users' PCs to mine for Bitcoins as a potential opt-in service for their users, but ultimately canceled the project after an internal beta test.
What the company didn't know (or so they say) was that one of their employees had gone ahead and distributed the code, and began mining for Bitcoins using their players' computers. The ESEA originally said this had only gone on for two days, garnering them two Bitcoins worth $280, but it was later revealed that it had actually been active for two weeks to the tune of $3,713.55.
The company issued an apology, and is offering a free month of their service to users whose PCs were affected. All the money earned through the mining process will go toward the next season's prize pool.
Bitcoin is a form of fully-digital currency that is widely used is some (often seedy) corners of the Internet. “Bitcoin mining” refers to the algorithmic process by which Bitcoins are earned. A computer or group of computers attempts to solve an extremely complex equation, and once the answer has been reached, a block of Bitcoins are awarded. The equations get more and more difficult as the years go on to compensate for increased computing power.
It can take years to solve just one of these equations on a single PC, so as a result some people network their PCs in a coordinated effort. Gaming PCs are specifically valuable for this type of operation because they're typically outfitted with high-powered processors and GPUs.