Opera Introduces Anti-Crypto mining browser
Opera has released new versions of mobile browser (Opera 50 web browser) that blocks in-browser cryptocurrency mining. This feature was earlier introduced in desktop version of Opera for Windows, macOS & Linux in December 2017. This new feature would prevent smartphones being used secretly by attackers for cryptocurrency mining. This new feature will be available on Opera Mini & Opera for Android and is part of browser’s native ad-blocker function.
Growing popularity of cryptocurrencies has led to unethical practices of Cryptojacking. Some miners use their own data centres, while many miners are increasingly using people’s computers and smartphones for this - often without their consent. In brief, Cryptojacking is nothing but use of your system’s / Mobile’s CPU power to mine cryptocurrency. In-browser mining is one of the methods of Cryptojacking. In such scenario, your CPU suddenly works at 100 percent capacity, the fan goes crazy for seemingly no reason and your battery quickly depletes. These are all the signs of someone is using your computer to mine for cryptocurrency. Cryptojacking has serious ramifications for your system’s hardware as it will cause your device’s CPU to run at very high temperatures for an extended period. This could lead to your hardware becoming damaged. According to some reports, there are currently more than 3 million websites exposed to cryptojacking. Also, Opera estimates that more than a billion devices worldwide are slowed down by website-based cryptocurrency miners.
How does this new Opera feature work?
The new anti-cryptocurrency mining feature is activated by default when activating the ad blocker on Opera Mini and Opera for Android. The ad blocker can be enabled in “Settings”, and it will automatically detect and stop the mining scripts written into the coding of a webpage. Various tests were performed on Opera browsers in Samsung Galaxy s8 and HTC one smart phones. By blocking mining scripts, Opera aims to ensure that its users’ smartphones continue to run smoothly and that their battery life is not drained. Opera has also created a website for users to check if their browser is affected by unwanted crypto mining. The website is called 'cryptojackingtest' and can be used on smartphones as well as desktops.
Jan Standal, VP Product Marketing at Opera, said,
"When you browse the Web, there are no visual clues that your device is exposed to mining." He added, "A single webpage you visit can take up to 4.5 hours of your battery time if you keep the tab open. This often turns out to be just the battery time you needed to use a ride-hailing app or check the map to get home”