With cryptocurrencies the current 'next big thing' in the digital world, it's not surprising that many people are turning to extreme means to mine new coins, with some even employing other peoples' computers and smartphones - often without their consent.
Cryptocurrency mining is a high-intensity process that can dramatically overwork the CPU on most smartphones, causing devices to run slower, heat up and discharge their batteries at a hugely accelerated rate. More than 1bn devices worldwide are estimated to be affected by covert mining.
Its with that in mind that Opera has introduced a new feature on its mobile browser, adding protection against cryptocurrency mining. The company had already become the first major browser to add protection on desktop browsers, and the new update expands that shield to hundreds of millions more smartphone users. According to some reports, there are currently more than 3m websites exposed to 'cryptojacking', so the need for extra protection is substantial and only likely to grow in the forseeable future.
"When you browse the web, there are no visual clues that your device is exposed to mining," said Jan Standal, vice president of 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's anti-cryptocurrency mining feature is activated by default when the browser's ad blocker is switched on by users. The company has also created a cryptojacking test website that enables consumers to check if their desktop or mobile browser is being impacted by mining.