Tech

Erik Gibbs

Firefox comes through, now blocks online crypto hijackers

Last September, Mozilla announced that its Firefox web browser would soon include cryptojacking technology. That capability is now apparently live, as the company indicates in a blog post that Firefox now has protections that block cryptocurrency mining malware. 

For both Firefox Nightly 68 and Beta 67, Mozilla offers additional protection against crypto mining, as well as against fingerprinting hack attacks. The capabilities are integrated into the browser’s built-in Content Blocking suite and are designed to better protect users from malicious intrusions. 

According to the blog post, “A variety of popular ‘fingerprinting’ scripts are invisibly embedded on many web pages, harvesting a snapshot of your computer’s configuration to build a digital fingerprint that can be used to track you across the web, even if you clear your cookies. Fingerprinting violates Firefox’s anti-tracking policy.

“Another category of scripts called ‘cryptominers’ run costly operations on your web browser without your knowledge or consent, using the power of your computer’s CPU to generate cryptocurrency for someone else’s benefit. These scripts slow down your computer, drain your battery and rack up your electric bill.”

It pays to note that the protections are not enabled by default—users need to turn them on before running to social media to complain that Mozilla doesn’t know what it’s doing. The options can be found in the Privacy and Security menu under “Content Blocking.”

The capability was made possible through a collaborative effort with Disconnect, a privacy and security software firm. The protection starts by incorporating data from several blacklists of known malware domains and the service is reportedly capable of blocking malware miners such as CryptoLoot and Coinhive

Mozilla adds, “In the coming months, we will start testing these protections with small groups of users and will continue to work with Disconnect to improve and expand the set of domains blocked by Firefox. We plan to enable these protections by default for all Firefox users in a future release.”

Cryptojacking continues to be a problem, despite increased awareness and enhanced protection. It doesn’t help that a Japanese judge just ruled that a Coinhive user was innocent because the illegal mining operations he installed on users’ computers didn’t cause any harm. 

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