Firefox to Prevent In-Browser Cryptojackng with New Feature

Mozilla Firefox users may see crypto mining malware scripts blocked by default in future releases of the web browser.

In an effort to enhance its performance and protect customers, open-source web browser Mozilla Firefox will soon start automatically blocking cryptocurrency mining malware scripts.

“Sites have deployed cryptomining scripts that silently mine cryptocurrencies on the user's device. Practices like these make the web a more hostile place to be. Future versions of Firefox will block these practices by default,” Mozilla vice president of product Nick Nguyen said in a blog post last week.

The Firefox Nightly version will be used to test the functionality of the new features. And if successful, users may begin seeing them enabled in the Firefox 63 release, Nguyen revealed.

Global cybersecurity solutions provider Trend Micro Incorporated said in a recent report that it had recorded a 96% increase in cryptocurrency mining detections in the first half of 2018 compared to all of 2017 and a 956% increase in detections versus the first half of 2017. According to the company, cybercriminals are veering away from attention-grabbing ransomware attacks to more clandestine methods like in-browser cryptojacking.

Unlike programs infected with unwanted cryptocurrency miners, in-browser cryptojacking does not require any hidden malware in the victim’s computer. The perpetrators use a malicious JavaScript on their web pages, which covertly mines cryptocurrencies every time a user visits those pages. While these attacks do not appear to be as threatening as some of the other types of attacks, they impact user-experience by stealing computing power from the target machines.

Firefox is not the first web browser to offer its users protection from malicious cryptominers. Earlier this year, Opera introduced a default crypto miner protection to the smartphone version of its browser. The browser already has cryptominer protection on its desktop version.

After having banned cryptocurrency mining browser extensions from its Chrome Web Store earlier this year, last month Google banned crypto mining applications from its mobile Play Store. However, it recently came to light that some of these banned applications were still present on the store.