Web browser Opera’s latest version (Opera 50) will have a built-in solution to prevent cryptocurrency miners from secretly exploiting computer systems. Recently, “cryptojacking” has become a hot issue due to several malware scripts floating around that have caught the attention of the cybersecurity world.
Blocking Mining Scripts
The Opera 50 ad blocker’s “anti-bitcoin mining” feature — NoCoin — undertakes to block all cryptocurrency mining scripts that have been targeting computers as of late.
These malicious, discreet mining scripts are programmed to abuse users’ CPU power in order to mine cryptocurrencies. In the long-term, such surreptitious mining can damage computers due to overheating.
Although mainstream media reports frequently refer to surreptitious CPU crypto-jacking as “bitcoin mining”, it’s not really possible to mine bitcoin with a CPU these days, whether it’s your own or someone else’s. The scripts they refer to are usually mining something easier — with monero a favorite.
Accordingly, Opera Software team member Kornelia Mielczarczyx noted in a new company blog post:
“Bitcoins are really hot right now, but did you know that they might actually be making your computer hotter? Your CPU suddenly working at 100 percent capacity, the fan is going crazy for seemingly no reason and your battery quickly depleting might all be signs that someone is using your computer to mine for cryptocurrency.”
These scripts also run after the browser is closed, which is why Opera 50 could become popular with security-minded users in the crypto space.
A few weeks back, Trend Micro — Japanese cybersecurity company — discovered a crypto mining bot that uses Facebook Messenger on Google Chrome to mine Monero (XMR) — one of the top privacy coins. These kinds of scripts will continue until mining scripts are blocked ubiquitously across all ad blocker platforms.
The new feature automatically is turned on when the built-in ad blocking tool is enabled. The NoCoin feature can be configured by going to Settings > Basic > Block ads and an option under “Recommended lists” will appear.
However, to simultaneously see ads and block mining scripts, users have to uncheck the “EasyList” option and leave the NoCoin box checked.
In the company blog post, Krystian Kolondra – head of Desktop Browser, remarked: “We are fans of cryptocurrencies but we simply don’t accept that websites are using people’s computers to mine coins without their knowledge or consent”
Additional Opera 50 Features
The platform’s built-in currency converter will now have cryptocurrencies listed on it. For now, the chosen digital currencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin. To enable the feature go to Settings > Browser > User interface and choose the desired currency from the drop-down menu.
Conversely, Opera 50 has a long list of other new features such as built-in VR player, additional Chromecast support, automatic format detection, Oculus Rift support, and software detecting.
If Opera 50 can deliver on its promises, then, it will likely be a surgingly popular web browser when it comes to safely surfing the web.
Will Opera takeover Chrome’s market with the introduction of the anti-crypto mining feature? Let us know your viewpoint in comments section.
Images via Opera.com, Softpedia