New Firefox option allows users to block crypto mining scripts

The latest update to the Firefox browser allows users to automatically block cryptocurrency mining scripts, in a bid to prevent browser-based scripts from hijacking processing power.

In its latest release, Mozilla has included an option under “Privacy & Security” tab allowing users to automatically block “cryptominers” from running in their browser, allowing users to reclaim control of their browsing experience.

Cryptocurrency mining scripts usually run in the background without the consent or knowledge of the user, harvesting excess processing power without permission to mine for cryptocurrencies.

Mozilla said the risks posed by these scripts is very real, noting, “These scripts slow down your computer, drain your battery and rack up your electric bill.”

New Firefox option allows users to block crypto mining scripts
(Source: Mozilla)

Mozilla has partnered with cybersecurity company Disconnect to deliver the automatic block, which has been in beta testing since April. The plans were first announced by the company last August, as part of its drive to prevent third party scripts from compromising the browsing experience.

Crypto mining scripts are being used with increasing frequency, both as a feature of coordinated attacks and, in some cases, an alternative revenue stream to selling ads. While illicit mining blazed the trail for the use of these scripts to generate cash from unsuspecting visitors, the scripts have become an increasingly common feature of high traffic websites.

The scripts have been known to result in hardware issues from overheating, as well as accruing unnecessary costs while delivering a less efficient browsing experience.

2018 figures from Skybox Security suggest cryptojacking is involved in as much as 32% of cyberattacks, vastly outstripped ransomware as the malicious script of choice for online scammers.

With its most recent update, Firefox becomes the latest browser to take action against these often-undetected scripts.

It follows similar measures from Opera, which offers anti-mining software on its mobile app, and Google Chrome, which excludes add-ons running crypto mining software. With cryptojacking scams at an all-time high, it remains to be seen whether this will have any impact on the number of people affected by these scripts in future. 

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