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.
Opera recently became the first major browser to add protection against cryptocurrency mining scripts to its desktop products. Today, Opera has announced the feature in all its mobile browsers. “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.”
According to some reports, there are currently more than 3 million websites exposed to cryptojacking, highlighting the need for extra protection. By blocking mining scripts, Opera aims to ensure that its users’ smartphones continue to run smoothly and that their battery life is not drained.
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How does it work?
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.
Testing and results
As per the team at Opera, several tests of the Opera browsers for smartphones performed on Samsung Galaxy S8 and HTC One determined that scripts mining for cryptocurrencies can increase the smartphones’ CPU usage up to 100 percent. This can cause increased battery Fdraining and make the phone overheat.
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