Mozilla launches Firefox 69 with default cryptojacking blocker

Mozilla has launched the latest version of its flagship Firefox browser, complete with default cryptojacking blocking software.

In response to the surge in cryptojacking attacks, Firefox 69 will have cryptocurrency mining protection turned on by default, protecting Firefox users from third party mining attacks in the first instance.

The option can be toggled from the browser Preferences, Privacy and Security menu, but is designed to serve as the first line of defense against undercover crypto mining stealing user CPU and resources.

Cryptojacking is an increasingly popular attack of choice for online scammers, with victims often unaware they have been targeted until it’s too late. The attacks work by third parties hijacking extra processing power and capacity on a user device, which is then used to mine cryptocurrencies.

Previous victims have reported exploding data usage, electricity costs and even hardware damage to their devices as a result of malicious cryptojacking scripts. Worse still, these scripts are a feature of a growing number of websites and online attacks, slowing down user systems and earning the scammers a fortune in the process.

Amongst the cryptojacking protection, the browser also offers users other privacy features, including counter-fingerprinting measures which help prevent unwanted and invasive tracking of user devices.

The launch in notable as one of the first times a crypto mining blocker has been bundled with a browser by default, recognition of the growing prevalence, frequency and scale of these attacks on often unsuspecting victims.

Crypto mining is blocked as part of the ‘Standard’ security level, though the latest browser will also offer the chance to go one step further, with the ‘Strict’ setting. According to Mozilla, the features are a response to demand from users for a more secure browsing experience.

Crypto mining attacks began to rise through 2018, replacing alternative forms of malware due to the lower chances of detection compared with other types of malicious script.

The features are included as standard on both desktop and mobile versions of the browser. With no sign of any let up from the crypto scammers, it remains to be seen whether more browsers follow suit in introducing their own anti-cryptojacking features.

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