Firefox Browser’s New Update Includes Option to Block Crypto Mining Scripts

Mozilla has rolled out an update for its Firefox browser that supports a feature to block cryptocurrency mining scripts on websites.

Announced in a blog post published May 22, Mozilla said that the feature comes with cookies and trackers management option in the “Privacy & Security” tab of the browser, where users can now also select to tick a box that avoids “cryptominers” from running.

Crypto-mining scripts on websites usually run on browser without users’ consent and knowledge, utilizing their computer processor’s power to mine cryptocurrency for the personal gain of the hackers.

According to Mozilla, “These scripts slow down your computer, drain your battery and rack up your electric bill.”

The option was initially launched in April and has been available in beta since. Mozilla collaborated with cybersecurity company Disconnect for the service.

Mozilla announced its plan to provide the option in August last year, stating its intention to preventing third-party scripts from impeding the user experience. Web browser Opera also provides miner protection in its smartphone version, while Google’s Chrome has barred miners from its extensions.

Illicit crypto mining, also known as crypto-jacking, is increasingly gaining popularity with criminals. The code that facilitates mining can be proliferated by malware and downloaded directly to computer systems, or it can be encrypted on websites to mine utilizing the victims’ machines through browsers.

Skybox Security published a report last year, stating that cryptojacking was responsible for 32 percent of all cyberattacks, while ransomware only contributes 8 percent.

In 2017, Skybox discovered that the situation was almost reversed. Ransomware attacks, which the data on victim’s computer is encrypted by malware and only unlocked after payment of fee, contributed 32 percent of total attacks, while cryptojacking accounts for 7 percent at the time.