Firefox to Offer Users Automatic Protection Against Cryptocurrency Mining Malware
Mozilla Firefox would very soon have a new version that would be equipped to block cryptocurrency mining malware scripts.
Reports say that Firefox Nightly would first run a test version of this new feature. If everything goes well, Firefox users can make use of the new feature once Firefox 63 is released.
A post on the official Mozilla blog, authored by Mozilla vice president of product Nick Nguyen says, “Deceptive practices that invisibly collect identifiable user information or degrade user experience are becoming more common. For example, some trackers fingerprint users — a technique that allows them to invisibly identify users by their device properties, and which users are unable to control. Other 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.”
Cryptocurrency mining is on the rise
Reports suggest that cryptocurrency mining is on the rise globally; some experts do point out that cybercriminals seem to be shifting their attention from ransomware to this more discreet form of cybercrime.
A recent TrendMicro report, which discusses the rise in cryptocurrency mining detections in the first half of 2018, says- “Stealthy and subtle — two common characteristics of the major cybersecurity threats we found in the first half of 2018. The year started off rocky when, in January, serious design flaws were discovered in popular microprocessors previously assumed to be secure. Throughout the next few months, we also saw a noticeable shift away from highly visible ransomware to a more discreet detection: cryptocurrency mining.”
The report points out that cryptocurrency mining detections have more than doubled from the 2nd half of 2017. The report says- “We noted in our 2017 annual roundup report that cryptocurrency-mining activity was on the rise. That trend continued in the first half of 2018, with detections of cryptocurrency-mining activity more than doubling from 2H 2017. We also detected a significant number of new cryptocurrency miner malware families, showing that cybercriminals remained keenly interested in profiting from digital currencies.”
The report further says, “Throughout the first few months of 2018, we noted how cybercriminals devised new methods and explored new techniques to maximize the profit from illicit cryptocurrency mining.”
Cybercriminals today seem to be showing an inclination to plan and execute in-browser cryptojacking rather than go for ransomware attacks.
Firefox is not the first browser to offer protection from cryptominers
Mozilla Firefox is not the first web browser to offer users protection from cryptocurrency miners. Opera had already introduced this feature and earlier this year, the company extended the protection feature to its mobile browsers too.
A press release from Opera, dated January 22, 2018, says, “Opera recently became the first major browser to add protection against cryptocurrency mining scripts to its desktop products. Today, Opera launches the feature in all its mobile browsers, protecting hundreds of millions of smartphone browser users.”
Earlier this year, Google had banned cryptocurrency mining browser extensions from its Chrome Web Store. Last month Google took the next step and banned crypto mining applications from its mobile Play Store.