Opera introduces bitcoin mining protection in all mobile browsers – here’s how we did it

Over the past few months, you might have experienced your phone running out of battery and getting overheated. If that is the case, probably someone has been mining bitcoins or other types of cryptocurrencies using your computer or smartphone without you noticing it or allowing it.

Across the web, there are tons of bitcoin miners who use the power of thousands of computers to mine bitcoins and other types of cryptocurrencies. These miners basically modify scripts on thousands of websites and use your smartphone’s CPU to earn money. This considerably decreases your device’s performance and your experience with it. So if luck wasn’t on your side and you have visited one of the mining websites, you might have fallen victim to cryptojacking. But hey, good news! Opera is here to help you and avoid these problems.

Opera mobile browsers block scripts that compromise your phone

Recently, we decided to address this problem. Now, Opera browsers for mobile phones can now actually block scripts that compromise your smartphone when you visit a website with mining scripts. With more than 100 mined websites analyzed, the developers at Opera could see how smartphones such as Samsung Galaxy S8 and HTC One, reduce their performance when exposed to cryptojacking.

(Samsung Galaxy S8 test)

To run the test, the developers at Opera required a software that could provide insights of the behavior of the phone by measuring the CPU Utilization when visiting a mined website. This software tracked and report CPU Utilization in both browsers.

For making sure that the procedure was the same in both browsers, Opera and Google Chrome were tested one by one with only one tab open at the time. This made the measurements more accurate rather than running several tabs at the same time.

The results showed that, when using Chrome, the CPU Utilization on a Samsung Galaxy S8 can vary between a 30% to 50%  as shown in the picture above whereas in devices such as HTC One, CPU Utilization increased,  and vary between an 80% to a 100% as seen on the image below. This of course caused a faster battery draining and an immediate overheating of the phone.

On the other hand, when the phones were tested with Opera browsers, the peaks that indicate the CPU Utilization of the phones showed a tendency to decline, meaning that there was no threat from the website to the phones. Instead, it proved to be a safer way of browsing. In this sense, the phones presented neither battery drain nor an overheating of the device.

(HTC One test)

The reason why smartphone users who have Opera Mini or Opera for Android are protected against coin mining threats, is because both browsers are equipped with the new anti-cryptocurrency mining feature which is activated by default when enabling 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.

So let’s wrap it up. There is nothing wrong about bitcoins and cryptocurrencies, in fact at Opera we are fans of them, but it is not nice when websites use your smartphone to mine coins without your knowledge or consent.

If you want to get the best experience out of your smartphone, and browse the web safely,  download Opera Mini and Opera for Android in your smartphone.

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