In the past hour, total pool hashrate of popular Monero mining pool MineXMR increased to roughly 90Mh/s, and miners suspect it is from illegal virus botnets that have infected unsuspecting computer users across the globe.

It was just days ago that SupportXMR was the leading Monero mining pool, at one point hashing about 100 megahashes per second, but almost 50% of that hashing power has switched to MineXMR pool after many SupportXMR users complained of botnets increasing the difficulty of mining the notorious privacy coin.

The fear of botnets has increased lately as botnet hashing power has dramatically increased in recent weeks and pool staffers have openly discussed the problems of thousands of workers one account can create for the rest of the pool.  For example, on the home page for SupportXMR.com, a notice about the pool’s policy regarding botnets is posted, reading:

Due to the increasing popularity of VPS, botnet and webmining, we will IP ban and/or lock payouts for everything that resembles abusive botnet/webmining traffic.

They go on to offer a solution that combines workers so that the stress of thousands of workers on their servers don’t cause hashing and latency problems for their users. That notice, however, hadn’t stopped botnets from using the pool until today when a mass migration of botnets occurred from SupportXMR to perhaps the second most popular Monero mining pool MineXMR.

The problem with botnets, as pointed out by a number of reddit users and on other social media, is more than just the fact that they are illegal. With a botnet that consists of virus-laden computers across the globe, there’s no telling how large the network could become. With the difficulty becoming so high, it means miners cannot receive as much Monero reward for their mining as they could in the past, and it means their equipment may become obsolete fast.

However, if MineXMR decides to ban botnets as well, then the problem may not last very long after all.

Details to be reported as they become available.