The Opera browser has a new feature that prevents smartphones being used to secretly help attackers mine cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Recently, Opera had released its Opera 50 version desktop browser for Windows, macOS, and Linux. It includes numerous features such as a new anti-cryptocurrency mining. However, Opera's new feature will now be available in all its smartphone browsers.
Growing popularity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has led to unethical practices like cryptojacking. Mining requires considerable power and ends up slowing down smartphones that are affected by it. Opera says that scripts mining for cryptocurrencies can increase a smartphone's CPU usage up to 100 percent, resulting in overheating and battery drainage.
The company says there are currently more than 3 million websites exposed to cryptojacking. The new feature essentially blocks mining scripts so that the smartphones along with their batteries, function normally. 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."
The new anti-cryptocurrency mining feature gets activated by default when activating the ad blocker on Opera Mini and Opera for Android. Opera says the ad blocker can be enabled in the Settings tab. It automatically detects and stops mining scripts written into the coding of a webpage, the company says.
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.
As mentioned earlier, Opera has also announced the release of a stable build of the latest Opera 50 Web browser. The Opera 50 browser has the new NoCoin feature that helps block webpages that discreetly use cryptocurrency mining scripts. This feature also works by activating the inbuilt ad blocker in the Settings tab.