As cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are becoming a bigger thing and climbing in value, hackers have found ways to mine the coins by using other peoples’ computers and smartphones.
However, cryptocurrency mining tends to be a high-intensity process which can overload the CPU of a smartphone resulting in slower device performance as well as faster battery drainage. Around one billion devices globally are now estimated to be affected by such mining practices.
That is why Opera has added a new feature to its mobile browser, which adds protection against cryptocurrency mining. The company already provides protection against cryptocurrency mining scripts on desktops.
“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. 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”.
Opera explains that the need for protection is only growing as three million websites are exposed to cryptojacking.
The browser feature works by blocking the mining scripts. This ensures a smoother smartphone performance. Once installed, the anti-cryptocurrency mining feature is turned on by default. Users may also enable an inbuilt ad blocker from the Settings tab.
Opera also offered some stats as to how devices performed after installing the browser.
Developers noted that cyptocurrency scripts on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and HTC One increased the smartphones’ CPU by 100%. After activating the Opera browser and ad blocker, some phones recovered 100% of their CPU usage.