As the value of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Monero skyrocketed last year, a more sinister trend came with it. Cybercriminals saw the opportunity to hijack unprotected computers to use their processing power to mine cryptocurrency – an activity that involves calculating extremely complex mathematical problems.
Those calculations require a lot of CPU resources and electricity, so hackers use browser mining scripts to illicitly using other people’s computers (called cryptojacking) so they can mine cryptocurrencies at no cost.
In this article, we’ll explain how you can protect your system from browser mining so it’s not used as a get-rich-quick vehicle for cybercriminals.
First, we need to understand the nature of cryptocurrencies. These digital currencies are based on cryptography (also referred to as hash algorithms) that record financial transactions.
By Michael Nadeau
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After announcing new security efforts in June, Mozilla is now rolling out the features for all Firefox users on Windows, Mac, Linux and Android. By partnering with Disconnect, Firefox will now block third-party cookies; it can also block crypto-miners from accessing users’ hardware. With Firefox 69 (rolling out today), these options will be enabled by default.
“Enhanced Tracking Protection works behind-the-scenes to keep a company from forming a profile of you based on their tracking of your browsing behavior across websites — often without your knowledge or consent,” says Mozilla. “Those profiles and the information they contain may then be sold and used for purposes you never knew or intended.” For users who are curious about who has attempted to track their online interactions, Firefox keeps a list of blocked cookies and crypto-miners.
Is your computer fan spinning up for no apparent reason? Your electricity bill inexplicably high? Your laptop battery draining much faster than usual? It may not be all the Netflix you’re binging or a computer virus. Cryptocurrency miners may be using your computer’s resources to generate cryptocurrency without your consent. We know it sounds like something out of a video game or one of those movies that barely gets technology right, but as much as cryptomining may sound like fiction, the impact on your life can be very real.
Unauthorized cryptominers are scripts (think of them as tiny programs) that run energy-sucking operations on your web browser without your knowledge or consent. They literally steal your system’s computing power to make money.
Some websites may use your computer to mine cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Monero. Here’s how to stop them.
Mining cryptocurrencies is a great way to earn small amounts of residual income (that could possibly be worth much more in the future).