One of the new features coming soon to Mozilla Firefox users is cryptocurrency mining protection, and while the company hasn’t provided any details as to when the release could take place, an early implementation is already available.
First of all, what’s crypto-mining protection? In their efforts to mine for cryptocurrency, malicious actors often turn to websites and scripts that use your resources for their own purpose. In other words, your own system is being used to mine for cryptocurrency in their account, and it all happens when loading crafted pages or scripts.
While there are several ways to stay protected against such dangerous content, browser developers themselves are trying to block crypto miners with built-in security features that prevent them from eating up your system’s resources.
As the second most-used browser on the desktop, Mozilla Firefox will soon get similar capabilities too, basically being able to detect miners and block them before launching.
Cryptominers and fingerprinters will be blocked as part of the new Firefox content tracking implementation, and you’ll be allowed to decide whether you want the browser to provide such protection or not.
There’s just one risk when running content blockers: some websites could break down and the pages would be loaded incorrectly.
While Mozilla is still working on cryptominer blocking, the feature has recently been implemented in the Firefox Nightly builds, letting you give it a try before it goes live for everyone. Needless to say, this feature may not be flawless at this point, as it’s still work in progress. Also, Firefox Nightly shouldn’t become your daily browser because this is Mozilla’s testing platform.
The first thing you need to do is to run the latest version of Firefox Nightly – I tested the steps detailed below on Firefox Nightly version 67.0a1 (2019-02-11) (64-bit), so any version newer than that should be OK.
Launch the browser, and in the address bar type the following command:
You’ll be warned that making changes to the default configuration could affect browser stability, so just continue to see the available options.
Next, in the address bar you need to search for the following options one by one and enable them:
As you’ll notice, both of them are set to false, you double-click them to switch to true. When both are enabled, you can just restart Firefox to get the new features.
Now that you enabled both the blockers and the user interface to control them, you can simply turn them on from the Settings screen. To do this, click the Firefox menu button and go to:
Options > Privacy & Security > Content Blocking
You need to enable the Custom preference, and when expanding the menu, you’ll see two new options called Cryptominers and Fingerprinters. Activate both of them and you’re good to go.
It’s critical to keep in mind that this is just an early implementation of the feature and it may not work exactly as expected, but given that it’s part of Firefox Nightly, you can just give it a try and then submit your feedback to Mozilla for further refinements.
Firefox is right now the second most popular desktop browser with a market share close to 10 percent, but it’s pretty much the only alternative to Google Chrome. The majority of other browsers switched to Chromium, including Microsoft Edge, so if you don’t want to use a Google Chrome browser, Firefox is the only option.
Mozilla has pledged to continue improving Firefox with other features in the coming updates, especially because it remains the top alternative to Google Chrome, so it shouldn’t take too long before the cryptomining protection goes live for everyone.