Have you updated your web browser lately? If the answer is "no" and you are running Firefox (or Firefox Quantum, as Mozilla calls it these days), there is a new build available, version 67.0. This is a finalized release and not a beta build, and it brings with it improved performance and some new features, including a cryptocurrency mining blocker.
The latter would have been more useful when cryptocurrency mining was booming, but hey, better late than never, right? To Mozilla's credit, the crypto-market is highly volatile, and who knows if we will see another surge in interest. If so, it's nice to know that the latest version of Firefox offers some level of protection against unwittingly mining for someone else.
That specific capability falls under the umbrella of Firefox's content blocking feature.
"Content blocking is a collection of Firefox privacy features that protect you from threats and annoyances on the web. This includes protections against trackers, which collect your browsing data across multiple websites. Starting with Firefox version 67, you can block harmful scripts including cryptominers and fingerprinters," Mozilla explains.
Blocking content can make pages load faster in some instances, though it can also affect the functionality of the site you are visiting. To deal with that, Mozilla made it easy to disable blocking sites that you trust—just click on the shield or information icon to expand the Control Panel and hit the Turn off Blocking for This Site button.
As for the overall speed of Firefox, Mozilla employed several new techniques to make the browser work faster.
"We reviewed areas that we felt could be delayed and delivered on “painting” the page faster so you can browse quicker. This includes delaying set Timeout in order to prioritize scripts for things you need first while delaying others to help make the main scripts for Instagram, Amazon and Google searches execute 40-80 percent faster; scanning for alternative style sheets after page load; and not loading the auto-fill module unless there is an actual form to complete, Mozilla says.
Mozilla also gave Firefox the ability to suspend idle tabs when the browser detects that memory is running low (defined as lower than 400MB). And if you are a Windows 10 user with an NVIDIA graphics card, there is a WebRender update that is intended to improve performance as well.
Firefox automatically fetches updates, though if you want to give it a kick in the paints, click on the three horizontal lines in the upper-right corner and navigate to Help > About Firefox. This will prompt Firefox to download the latest version. Alternatively, you can head to the Firefox Quantum landing page and manually download and install the latest build.