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Firefox, the desktop and mobile browser created by the non-profit Mozilla Foundation, now blocks cryptominers and third-party cookies by default, it announced yesterday.
Mozilla introduced the option to block in-browser cryptomining in developer versions of Firefox back in April, but the service is now rolled out as default.
Cryptominers are a strain of malware that use your computing power to mine cryptocurrencies, usually the privacy coin Monero. The practice, known as “crypto-jacking”, is particularly popular in web browsers.
The best-known example of this was Coinhive, a service that promised to replace banner ads with cryptominers but was hijacked by hackers who used the software to mine crypto in the browsers of unsuspecting users. Coinhive was shut down in February, but researchers from Check Point Security have told Decrypt that hackers have since moved to other similar services.
Additionally, Mozilla’s feature that blocks cookies from known third-party trackers, known as “Enhanced Tracking Protection,” will be turned on for all users by default. It will be rolled out to the remaining 80 percent of users that haven’t switched the feature on.
By blocking third-party trackers, Mozilla follows in the footsteps of Apple’s Safari browser and Brave’s privacy browser, which also block third-party trackers as default.
Firefox is hoping its renewed focus on privacy and security can help it recover lost ground to Google’s Chrome browser. According to Statcounter, a website that claims to track the global market share of browsers, Google Chrome holds over 63 percent of the browser market share, a rise of 4 percent since August 2018. In the same time frame, Firefox lost 0.5 percent of its market share, which now amounts to a measly 4.44%.
But will this be enough?