Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, have become a hot topic and, with their surge in value, so has the mining for new coins, known as cryptocurrency mining. While some use their own data centres, many web developers are increasingly using people’s computers and smartphones for this — often without their consent. The phenomenon is estimated to be affecting more than a billion people worldwide, causing their devices to run warm, become slower and eat up their batteries.
“When you browse the web, there are no visual clues that your device is exposed to mining,” says Jan Standal, VP Product Marketing at Opera “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”.
To protect its user base against the harmful effects of cryptocurrency mining, Opera recently added protection against cryptocurrency mining scripts to its desktop products and its mobile browsers as well.
According to some reports, there are currently more than 3 million websites exposed to cryptojacking, so the need for extra protection is bigger than ever. By blocking mining scripts, users’ smartphones are expected to run smoothly, resulting in longer battery life. 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. Opera has also created a website, called the cryptojackingtest.com to check if your browser is affected by unwanted crypto mining. The company claims that this feature can claim back up to 100 per cent CPU usage.