Mozilla has upgraded the security and privacy-focused features on its new Firefox Nightly and Beta web browser versions, which now feature tools to help users block fingerprinting and cryptomining scripts online.
In its blog on April 9, Mozilla said these tools have been developed as part of its ongoing work in upholding an “anti-tracking policy”, which aims to block user tracking while offering clear controls for users to have more choice over what information they share online. Fingerprinting, in particular, is in direct violation of this policy, it said.
Fingerprinting scripts are invisibly embedded in web pages, harvesting a snapshot of computer configurations to build a digital “fingerprint” that can be used to track users across the Internet. It works even if cookies are cleared.
Cryptomining scripts run cryptojacking operations, where a web user’s spare computing power is used to mine crypto without the web user’s knowledge, or consent. The scripts drain computing power and battery life while racking up electricity bills. Last August, Mozilla had already confirmed it will block cryptojacking malware in upcoming versions of Firefox.
To tackle these problem areas, Mozilla collaborated with privacy protection firm Disconnect to compile a list of domains that support fingerprinting and cryptomining scripts. In Firefox Nightly and Beta versions, users now have the option to enable the blocking of both scripts as part of Firefox’s Content Blocking protection suite.
In Dec 2018, Bloomberg reported that cryptojacking had become the greatest cyber threat in many regions, surpassing ransomware threats.