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back to article Gaming app ENSLAVES punter PCs in Bitcoin mining ring

A competitive gaming company has admitted that for two weeks in April its software client was hijacking league members' PCs to mine Bitcoins. In an eyebrow-raising turn of events, the company, ESEA Gaming, admitted on Wednesday that its software client had been running Bitcoin-mining algorithms on customer PCs since April 14, …

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In a word...

"Along with the prize pot, ESEA gaming is also donating double the value of the mined Bitcoins – $7,427.10 at current market rates – to the American Cancer Society."

Commendable.

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Re: In a word...

What, exactly, has been stolen?

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Re: In a word...

You could look on it that the company & it's management are unrepentant crooks, or you could read the bit in the article that says "An ESEA employee who was involved in the tests "has been using the test code for his own personal gain since April 13, 2013," Which sort of implies to me that there was one single unrepentant crook working on his own without the company management's knowledge.

Reading further it also tells us that all the "stolen goods" have been put into the latest prize pot, and the charity donations are an additional 2x the amount.

I suppose I'd better do the usual disclaimer that I have nothing to do with this company (never even heard of them before this article), but I do get irritated when people automatically assume the worst possible motives for anything any company does without reading the details.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In a word...

"you find it commendable that they donated their stolen goods to charity"

Not just their stolen "goods": "donating double the value of the mined Bitcoins"

That's a little bit more than *all* of their stolen goods, they didn't *have* to do that. Since you clearly have issues reading small quotes in a comment, you've probably also not read the comment guidelines: "Be legible and intelligible. Be polite. Animated debate is great - nasty arguments and abuse, not so much."

There is no need to call someone with an opinion different to yours "a fucking idiot".

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Re: In a word...

Energy. Maxing out a GPU to mine bitcoins sucks up a lot of power - there's a reason the big ones need to be hooked up directly to the power supply, and these being competitive gamers they are probably running lots of triple-SLI monster rigs. The financial cost to the victims comes when the electricity bill arrives.

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@Suricou Raven Re: In a word...

"Energy. Maxing out a GPU to mine bitcoins sucks up a lot of power "

Yes but could there possibly be a way to reasonably estimate how much extra money each gamer had to pay in electrical costs because of this incident? I can't imagine that there is.

And also, let's be honest, anyone who has, as in the given example, a triple-SLI or Crossfire setup can be expected to be able to afford to pay the extra electrical costs. One could even say that they deserve to take the hit for having been so wasteful of money and power in the first place. (I am not really sure that I would buy into such reasoning, personally.)

But the company seems to have made a legitimate effort to make good the harm done, has not come out ahead in the matter, and hopefully done some good too. (And none of this seems to have been done under duress or immediate threat, either. )

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Re: @Suricou Raven In a word...

As you say the extra electric used is likely to amount to peanuts, though if the stress of maxing your GPU's constantly over a 2 week period could have really shortened the life span of the card/s and maybe even blew a couple! And as you say, these are likely to not be cheap cards either!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In a word...

Lifespan of their GPU has been stolen, and extra power/cooling had to be used to compensate for unnecessary performance. Considering a $300 card can mine 2 years easily without dying, so 2 weeks is <$6. Guess that's something.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: In a word...

I could also have explored a little further and read what the league admin had to say. I quote

"But for the record, I told jag he shouldn't be lazy and run the miner in a separate process,". "Rookie move."

This is not someone surprised by a piece of rogue code.

Now I don't know where you live but where I live this sort of thingis a federal offence and a sackable one as well. If this truly was the work of a lone gunman I would expect ESEA to be calling in the feds. This won't happen of course.

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Re: In a word...

What, exactly, has been stolen?

Electricity.

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FAIL

Why not...

Why not do it openly, and put the mined BitCoins into the prize pot each month.

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Re: Why not...

Because would you use a program that maxed your VERY power hungry GPU (this is a competitive gaming program so the rigs will be monsters) constantly meaning the power bill was huge AND your VERY expensive GPU has its operating life shorted significantly

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Flame

Re: Why not...

your VERY expensive GPU has its operating life shorted significantly

in that case it's your very expensive AND VERY BADLY DESIGNED GPU. Silicon should last effectively forever (at least a decade, by which time it's obsolete) running at 50C - 60C. Typically it suffers logic errors and crashes at around 100C, because the hotter it gets the slower the transistors switch. This, however, is crash not burn. Once it's cooled down it again works fine.

Modern designs normally throttle themselves back when they're getting too hot, on the basis that users prefer slower to crashed. The cynic in me suggests that it's also a great way to persuade users to buy a new "faster" computer when all they really need is a new fan on the old one's heatsink to restore its original operating performance. (Or even just a vacuum cleaner to get the fluff out of the heatsink fins).

"Damage" is cumulative, caused by thermally activated migration of atoms within the chip. The rate at which it happens rises as the exp of the ABSOLUTE temperature. 60C is 333K, 100C is 373K, the difference is fairly small.

I was once called in to service an AMD Athlon system with what turned out to be a failed hard disk. Before I got there I touched the heatsink and my skin sizzled. The CPU had been running at over 100C since the fan failed months? years? ago, without any problems at all.

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Holmes

"unauthorized actions of this unauthorized individual"

The cynical part of me reads that as "fall guy"...

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