Last year, the company announced about adopting an approach to anti-tracking considering user data privacy. The company listed a few key initiatives mitigating harmful practices like fingerprinting and cryptomining. Yesterday, Mozilla announced that it is adding a new feature to protect its users against threats and web annoyances in future releases of Firefox.
This new feature is available in the beta version of Firefox 67, and the nightly version of Firefox 68. They will be available in the stable release of Firefox in a few weeks. Mozilla has also added a feature to block fingerprinting and cryptomining in Firefox Nightly as an option for users to turn on. The cryptomining and fingerprinting blocks work similar to anti-tracking blocks in current versions of Firefox.
Fingerprinting and crypto mining scripts
A variety of “fingerprinting” scripts are embedded invisibly on many web pages to harvest a snapshot of users’ computer configuration. These scripts further build a digital fingerprint that can be used for tracking users across the web, even if the user has cleared the cookies. Fingerprinting thus violates Firefox’s anti-tracking policy.
Cryptominers is another category of scripts that run costly operations on users’ web browser without the knowledge or consent of the users. It further uses the power of the user’s CPU to generate cryptocurrency for someone else’s benefit. These scripts slow down the computer speed and the drain battery which affects the electric bill.
Firefox’s move towards blocking these scripts
To overcome these threats, Mozilla has announced new protections against fingerprinters and cryptominers. The company has collaborated with Disconnect and have compiled the list of domains that serve fingerprinting and cryptomining scripts. Cryptomining and fingerprinting blocks have been disabled by default for now but users can activate them in a couple of clicks in the browser settings under “Privacy & Security.” Mozilla has given an option to users option in the latest Firefox Nightly and Beta versions for blocking both kinds of scripts as part of their Content Blocking suite of protections. The team at Mozilla will be testing these protections in the coming months.
To know more about this news, check out the official announcement by Mozilla.