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. We think that’s deeply shady, and that’s why we’ve added cryptomining blocking to Enhanced Tracking Protection on Firefox.
How does a cryptominer work?
Generating cryptocurrencies is usually done by requiring the miner to solve a complex cryptologic puzzle, something that takes a lot of computing energy to complete. The difficulty of the puzzle increases, meaning miners need more and more computing resources (which cost money) to solve the puzzle. To evade the cost of power and computing resources, people (aka “cryptojackers”) deploy cryptominers to use your system’s computing capacity to do the calculations on your dime. There are many instances when people give cryptominers permission to use their resources to mine, but that involves consent between the parties involved.
If an unauthorized cryptominer is using your system resources to generate cryptocurrency you may notice things like your battery power draining quickly, your fan spinning (an indication that the computer is using more resources and generating heat) or your electricity bill going up. Cryptocurrencies are so resource intensive that many environmental experts are concerned about their impact on the environment.
To help you combat these unwelcome scripts, we’ve partnered with Disconnect and compiled lists of domains that serve cryptomining scripts so you can block them directly through Firefox. When you download Firefox, tracking protection is enabled by default, blocking known cryptominers.
You don’t have to understand the nuances of cryptocurrency or blockchain to protect yourself from unscrupulous cryptocurrency miners. Download and install Firefox and add cryptominers to the list of ways we help keep you protected online.
Also published on Medium.
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