Firefox takes measures to protect users from ‘crypto jacking’

The administrators of the non-profit web browser are testing new functions to enhance user privacy, security and experience

Non-profit web browser Firefox has announced new measures to improve users’ experience and security, including blocking crypto jacking websites. These will be gradually implemented, Firefox says in a blog on its website.

The updates are aimed at protecting “users by blocking tracking while also offering a clear set of controls to give our users more choice over what information they share with sites”.

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Shortly, “Firefox will — by default — protect users by blocking tracking while also offering a clear set of controls to give our users more choice over what information they share with sites”, it adds.

It also explains that “deceptive practices that invisibly collect identifiable user information or degrade user experience are becoming more common. For example, some trackers fingerprint users — a technique that allows them to identify users by their device properties invisibly, and which users are unable to control.”

Firefox will block crypto mining scripts

It goes on to say that other websites “have deployed crypto mining scripts that silently mine cryptocurrencies on the user’s device. Practices like these make the web a more hostile place to be. Future versions of Firefox will block these practices by default.”

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The improvements are also aimed at improving page load performance, which is affected by tracking and slows down the web.

“In a study by Ghostery, 55.4% of the total time required to load an average website was spent loading third-party trackers. For users on slower networks the effect can be even worse,” it states and explains that long page load times are detrimental to the web experience of users.

What is Firefox Nightly?

“For that reason, we’ve added a new feature in Firefox Nightly that blocks trackers that slow down page loads. We will be testing this feature using a shield study in September. If we find that our approach performs well, we will start blocking slow-loading trackers by default in Firefox 63.”

Firefox will be removing cross-site tracking, which is basically when vendors track potential customers wherever they may go on the web, and they’re able to do this because, according to Firefox, the majority of web browsers fail to provide users with the privacy they deserve.

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“To help give users the private web browsing experience they expect and deserve, Firefox will strip cookies and block storage access from third-party tracking content,” it explains. “We’ve already made this available for our Firefox Nightly users to try out, and will be running a shield study to test the experience with some of our beta users in September. We aim to bring this protection to all users in Firefox 65, and will continue to refine our approach to provide the strongest possible protection while preserving a smooth user experience.”

Try the new Firefox features

Firefox is offering all users the opportunity to try the new features included in their Firefox Nightly updates.

READ MORE: Are centralised cryptocurrency exchanges safe?

“You can control both features from the Firefox Nightly Control Center menu, accessible on the left-hand side of the address bar. In that menu, you’ll see a new “Content Blocking” section. From there, you can:

1. Enable the blocking of slow-loading trackers or cross-site tracking through third-party cookies by clicking “Add Blocking…” next to the respective option.

2. In the “Content Blocking” preferences panel:

a. Click the checkbox next to “Slow-Loading Trackers” to improve page load performance.

b. Click the checkbox next to “Third-Party Cookies” and select “Trackers (recommended)” to block cross-site tracking cookies.

3. You can disable these protections by clicking the gear icon in the control centre and unchecking the checkboxes next to “Slow-Loading Trackers” and “Third-party Cookies”.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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