Security

Opera now blocks attackers from hijacking your browser for mining Bitcoin

A new feature called NoCoin blocks cryptocurrency mining scripts in the same way Opera blocks ads.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • The Opera browser has added an anti-cryptocurrency mining feature called NoCoin in its Opera 50 beta RC, which is out now.
  • When an attacker or website uses your browser to mine a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, it can take up your CPU capacity and lead to performance issues.

Opera will help protect users' CPU capacity by blocking outside cryptocurrency mining in their browser. A new feature called NoCoin—part if the Opera 50 Beta RC—blocks cryptocurrency mining scripts in the same way a browser may block ads, Opera wrote in a blog post.

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have been exploding in popularity, especially as Bitcoin itself soared above $11,000 late in 2017. However, that has led some attackers and malicious websites to hijack users' browsers to mine the currency, often with the help of available JavaScript APIs.

The new feature from Opera could help thwart these activities, preventing users and businesses from being an unwitting victim of such practices and keeping their CPU from being bogged down with extra tasks.

SEE: IT leader's guide to the blockchain (Tech Pro Research)

Cryptocurrency mining typically begins when a user visits a site that is running the scripts that enable it. But, as noted in Opera's post, the behavior can continue even after the user leaves the site. An October report claims that some 500 million PCs are being used to mine cryptocurrency.

"Your CPU suddenly working at 100 percent capacity, the fan is going crazy for seemingly no reason, and your battery quickly depleting might all be signs that someone is using your computer to mine for cryptocurrency," Opera said the post.

The NoCoin feature is part of Opera's built-in ad blocker. In the beta, the feature is enabled by default, as reported by our sister site ZDNet.

To manually enable NoCoin, users must first have the Opera 50 beta RC installed. Then, navigate to setting or preferences and click Basic and then Block ads. NoCoin will be available under the list of recommended ad filters, the post said.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/Denes Farkas

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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