Opera browser is adding a new layer of protection to its mobile browsers to prevent hackers or web developers from using people’s smartphones or PCs for mining cryptocurrencies such as monero, without their consent. This clandestine process of mining digital coins is also called cryptojakcing and it can have serious repercussions for the affected user’s smartphone. It can drain the battery quickly, affect overall performance, cause overheating and may even damage the hardware.

To tackle this, Opera has added a new anti-cryptocurrency mining tool in the Opera and Opera Mini apps for Android. A similar feature was added on Opera browser for Windows early this month. It is included in the ad blocker setting and is activated when the users turn on the ad blocker tool. Opera claims this tool can detect and stop all mining scripts hidden in the coding of a website. So the affected website will continue to work without running any of the mining processes in the background.

To help users identify websites with hidden cryptocurrency mining codes, Opera has also created a website, called www.cryptojackingtest.com, which works with all web browsers on smartphones and PC.

Mining cryptocurrencies is a resource-intensive task and requires a lot of processing power. Instead of spending on more data centres, miners are targeting harmless looking websites by quietly embedding cryptocurrency mining scripts in their code and exploit the smartphone’s resources to carry out the mining process in the background while users have no inkling of it. Most web browsers have no identifiers which can warn users. This is where Opera’s new website can help.

In the last few months, cases of cryptojakcing have gone up. According to Opera, 3 million websites are exposed to it so far. Monero is the most popular cryptocurrency generated through the process as it can be mined on regular CPU devices and its source of origin is untraceable, unlike bitcoin. Therefore, no one can track if it was generated illegally or used for illegal purposes.

The other way to stop cryptojacking is closing the browser properly and restarting the device. However, researchers at Malwarebytes Labs claim that some hackers have found a way around it by opening a hidden browser window called pop under which will run in the background without the user’s knowledge. Recently, Kaspersky Lab found a malware called Loapi which hides in apps on third-party stores to get into an Android smartphone and then uses its mobile browser and resources to mine monero.

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