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If your browser freezes

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Thursday, September 26, 2019

If you’ve opened another browser tab and now all of your applications are lagging, you could logically assume that mining code has started running in your system. You’ll close the tab, and things will get back to normal. But what will you do if performance issues arise after you close the tab?

A security research team from FORTH (Greece) and Stony Brook University (USA) published a security report detailing the MarioNet attack.

The malicious code is executed even if the user has long ago navigated away from or closed the tab with the bogus site.

MarioNet takes advantage of the Service Worker API, which is supported by most modern browsers.


Most interestingly, the Service Worker API was designed with user convenience in mind. Among other things, the API enables services to run even if the Internet connection has been lost.

Although opting for a browser that doesn't support the API may seem like a good way to avoid attack, that is not quite so. For example, the earliest Mozilla Firefox version supporting the API was version 44—a very old one that many modern sites don't support. That's why it’s better to disable the API (unless, of course, you need it).

To do so in Firefox, open a new tab and in the address bar, enter about:config; then in the search field, enter serviceWorkers:


Check the value for dom.serviceWorkers.enabled. If it is set to true, change it to false.

Similarly, check the values for dom.serviceWorkers.openWindow.enabled and dom.workers.enabled, and set them to false as well.

Once you’ve changed the settings, restart the browser.

#browser #security

The Anti-virus Times recommends

Changing these parameters may affect the operation of certain services – make sure that all the browser features you need still work properly after the settings have been adjusted.


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