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At a time when every high-profile data breach sheds more light on how web activity is monitored, Firefox is launching anti-tracking tools to protect against fingerprinting and crypto-mining. Mozilla is again teaming up with Disconnect -- a software company that provides no-tracking software and whose ad tracker blocklist Firefox already utlizes for its tracking protections -- on the new tools. Both of the blocking methods are available to Firefox Nightly 68 and Beta 67 testers. Mozilla plans to enable them by default in a future release.
For the uninitiated, illicit crypto-mining sees bad actors harnessing your machine to covertly mine cryptocurrency -- a process that cranks up CPU activity and drains power. This is generally achieved through scripts running behind-the-scenes on websites. The latest Firefox update blocks the cryptocurrency scripts contained in Disconnect's list.
The same goes for fingerprinting: a data-driven identifier based on on your browser settings information (think screen resolution, operating system, location, and language settings) that is made available to websites for optimization purposes. This data can then be used to identify you and trace your activity across the web "even if you clear your cookies," according to Mozilla. For now, testers can enable the anti-tracking methods via "preferences" in the Firefox main menu. They'll also be turned on by default in Firefox Nightly in the coming weeks.