Earlier this week, open-source Internet browser Firefox released a browser upgrade called Firefox Quantum, which according to a blog post by the company, is much faster and could put an end to the persistent issue of cryptojacking. The company’s blog post, which was published on Tuesday, revealed that Firefox Quantum comes with a new privacy toggle which helps users protect their computers against cryptojacking bots.
“Based on recent testing of this feature in our pre-release channels last month, today’s Firefox release gives you the option to “flip a switch” in the browser and protect yourself from these nefarious practices,” the post reads.
Crptojacking works in different ways. One popular way is through phishing emails which install the cryptomining code on your system. Once installed, the scripts use your computing power to mine cryptocurrencies. The other means is through a web browser. This happens when hackers inject a script into an ad or on multiple websites. Once the victim visits the site, their system becomes infected
In order to combat the cryptojacking issue, Mozilla (the company behind the Firefox browser) partnered with Disconnect, an online privacy protection company, to develop a crypto mining blocker for Firefox Quantum. When a user switches the feature on, prospective cryptojackers would be unable to launch their bots and take advantage of the user’s computer power for their mining gains.
The addition of a cryptojacking-blocker was initially announced by Mozilla last year. In addition to that, Firefox Nightly 68 and Beta 67 versions, which were both launched earlier this year, also have the cryptojacking protection feature as well.
Curbing Cryptojacking Bots
The menace of cryptojacking is one that has plagued crypto investors and web browsers. For most of these businesses, sanitizing users on the risks associated with cryptomining and publishing regular updates has been their way of curbing the issue.
Mozilla had warned its users about the increasing popularity of cryptojacking bots in the past, explaining that some websites have the ability to deploy scripts which launch crypto mining software on a user’s computer without the user’s consent or awareness. As this software continues to increase in popularity, so does the attacks.
In the 2018 Mid-Year Update published by integrated security management firm Skybox Security, it was revealed that cryptojacking contributes to about 32 percent of cyber attacks for the first half of 2018.
Fewer Attacks in 2019
However, it also seems that they might have ceded this majority to ransomware and hackers. Last month, cybersecurity firm MalwareBytes revealed in a report that there has been a sharp decline in consumer-targeted cryptojacking since the turn of the year.
The report claimed a 40 percent decrease in consumer malware detections, although cryptojackers could have turned their focus on businesses. Higher processing power means a shorter time to mine cryptos. Firefox is not leaving anything to chance, either way. Starting with Firefox Quantum, the company expects cryptojackers to have things a bit difficult.
Other forms of cyber attacks are being addressed as well. Last month, global payment processor PayPal was awarded a patent for a new technique of combating ransomware attacks by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Essentially, this technique will detect the original copy of a piece of content that has been corrupted by ransomware. It copies this content and makes it available to the user, even while a modified version of it might be locked away.