Firefox Quantum Unveils New Anti-Cryptojacking Privacy Feature
Firefox Quantum has been beefed up with new privacy features, reportedly offering users of the Firefox browser added protection against cryptojacking.
Mozilla announced the availability of the anti-cryptojacking privacy toggle feature in a blog post published on May 21.
The company had earlier warned that websites could install scripts onto a user’s device and deploy crypto miners without the affected user noticing, an exploitative practice called cryptojacking.
Mozilla sought to protect its Firefox users from such exploitative practices. It thus partnered Disconnect, an online privacy provider in a move that saw them develop a crypto mining blocker designed to shield the browser’s users.
The new toggle feature allows users to opt-in and enable a blocking functionality that prevents any would-be mining scripts from installing on their machines. With this feature enabled, cryptojackers cannot mine cryptocurrencies using the user’s computing power.
Mozilla had also announced via an earlier blog post that it had plans to block cryptojacking with new features that would be introduced together with a number of new browser releases.
The post was shared in August 2018, and Mozilla said at the time that “fingerprinting” and cryptojacking was one of the areas of focus in future browser releases. This followed increased consumer demand for features that allowed for stronger online privacy.
Fingerprinting is a malicious practice that uses an unsuspecting user’s digital fingerprint to track their online activities.
Firefox introduced protections against cryptojacking for the Nightly 68 and Beta 67 Firefox versions in April, before the company launched these features on the Quantum version.
Meanwhile, cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes reported in April that the practice of cryptojacking was “essentially extinct” when it comes to its use at the consumer level.
In a report published on April 23, Malwarebytes noted that consumer crypto mining appeared to have died off following the shutting down of CoinHive in March.
Coinhive was a crypto mining service that notoriously allowed malware gangs to use other people’s computers to mine cryptocurrencies.
Malwarebytes also noted that there has been a considerable shift in cryptojacking, with consumer-focused crypto mining dropping significantly over 2018 and in Q1, 2019.
However, data shows that the numbers have gone high when it comes to business-focused miners, particularly in the Asia Pacific region. While consumer malware detections dropped by about 40% in the first quarter, the attacks on businesses have gone up 7% over the same period.
Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.