The surge of fame, or infamy, that cryptocurrency, specifically Bitcoin, is now enjoying has made some a tad too desperate to cash in on the hype. Desperate but enough to risk investing in such a fickle business. And so they will let others take the risk for them whether those others like it or not. That is practically the line of thinking behind a new class of intrusion called cryptocurrency mining that threatens to render devices, including smartphones, inoperable or even dead. Opera is coming to the rescue with a new version of its mobile browser to protect your phone from such drive-by attacks.
Cryptocurrency has many forms, not just Bitcoin, and one such form, Monero specifically, lends itself too easily to using web-based technologies like Coinhive to mine for coins. This, in turn, has led to not a few malware that “volunteers” your PC to do the mining for someone else just by visiting an infected website.
Smartphones are not immune and may pose an even bigger threat. While the effects of drive-by cryptocurrency mining on PCs are more on the performance side of things, infected smartphones pose a real safety risk as well. As mining pushes processors to their limits, it could also cause the phone to overheat and possibly explode.
While most drive-by attacks on smartphones involve installing apps from unverified sources, it isn’t impossible to use the same browser-based route. Which is where Opera comes in. At the start of the year, it launched a new version of its desktop browser which, among other new things, features what Opera claims to be the first browser with built-in protection against such attacks.
And now it is bringing that same level of protection on Android via its mobile browser version. Both Opera Mini and the more featured Opera Mobile should have the feature, though the update seems to still be rolling out to users.