Mozilla to Roll out New Features in a Bid to Tackle Illicit Cryptomining and Third-Party Trackers
According to a press release published on August 30th, Mozilla Firefox revealed it will making some forward-thinking changes over the course of next three months, including blocking unconsented crypto mining activities, countering data breaches and preventing threat actors from performing conducting nefarious activities.
Blocking Cryptojacking Scripts
In recent months, there have been reports about browsers that passively allowing miners to leverage users computer resources to mine cryptocurrencies such as Monero, on unsuspecting victims. However, before the problem became an epidemic, Google’s Chrome and Opera browser have taken strong measures to clamp down on this phenomenon.
Now, Mozilla has announced to also take strong cognizance of the problems that users are facing such as crypto mining, and release solutions in its upcoming version. According to the Mozilla blog, its open-source web browser will by default block such cryptojacking attempts.
A study conducted by Ghostery, privacy and security-related browser extension, indicated that nearly 55.4% of the total time taken to load a page is ‘stolen’ by third-party trackers. Trackers don’t restrict themselves to third-party advertising on websites such as Facebook and Google.
Ghostery’s director of product management, Jeremy Tillman said, “We were fairly confident that websites perform better and work faster when trackers are blocked. The purpose of the study was really trying to quantify that impact. Is it a minor thing, is it somewhat rare, or is a major thing that’s widespread?”
Additional Security Features
To counter this problem, Mozilla has introduced a new feature called the Firefox Nightly that will block parasitic trackers from anchoring page loads. The feature will be tested through a program on Mozilla called ‘Shield Study’. For the uninitiated, Shield Study (or -ies) is like a trial run where the browser lets its audience try out a feature, before rolling out to the general public. Depending on the feedback, Mozilla will either release or hold the new features out.
Another important feature that they are planning to launch will include, increasing privacy for users. In today’s times, Internet users are familiar with the number of third-party advertisements. However, Mozilla will kick out cookies and block storage access of third parties. Although users who are using the Nightly version will be familiar with this, before the company rolls it out to other users, they will be including this feature in the Shield Study to find out how participants react to it.
The release read, “We aim to bring this protection to all users in Firefox 65, and will continue to refine our approach to provide the strongest possible protection while preserving a smooth user experience.”
The company also pointed out that due to Mozilla’s ad-blocking feature that was released in 2004, not only were people’s experiences better but advertisements began to care about the users’ experiences too.
Has cryptojacking become epidemic? Share your views in the comments section.