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I have opened the rather innocuous page on reputable website Quanta Magazine using Firefox Android 65.0.1 (with NoScript installed) and left it open.

The data usage rapidly burned through 1 GB of data transfer via the mobile network, which is more than I use in a month in general.

I closed the page, stopping data usage. Reopened it, and on it went. It has blown my data usage for the month out of the water.

The graph from "Settings > Connections > Data Usage > Mobile Data Usage" is eloquent:

Data Usage Graph

I have pumped the URL through Sucuri just to make sure whether there is a known evil in that page but it comes up blank.

What could be going on, and do I find out?

  • It's definitely something from d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net - There is bunch of stuff from that cache being hovered in. When I block that URL in NoScript, there is scant data transfer. Set it to trusted and boom - you can literally hear money going to the mobile operator. – David Tonhofer Feb 26 at 16:08
  • Unprotected Chrome has no problem with the page. Downloads about 10 MiB (the embedded images and the video?) but after that no particular activity. – David Tonhofer Feb 26 at 16:09
  • At home, checked what Firefox Desktop does: It behaves as expect, once the page has been downloaded, it stays downloaded. Firefox Mobile, connected to the WLAN, has another approach: it continuously bursts 30 Mbps downloads over the DSL once d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net has been whitelisted in NoScript. – David Tonhofer Feb 26 at 22:39
  • You have a valid problem. i.stack.imgur.com/BPm7e.png – Firelord Feb 27 at 3:23
  • This is unrelated to No Script because my test was conducted without it. Yes, it would be best if you show your findings or at least my linked image as a proof of a bug when filing it with Mozilla. – Firelord Feb 27 at 3:24
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Do you know what embedded miners are?

https://platform.jsecoin.com/?register=1&utm_source=referral&utm_campaign=aff139531&utm_content

http://join-shortest.com/ref/bdb9481b4c?user-type=new

They are a way for a webmaster to make money off of their webpage without a bunch if banners. The visitors of the website are having some if their computer power used to mine cryptocurrency. That uses data, right?

  • Absolutely. I do hope that Quanta Mag knows to not get its web pages hijacked though. Plus note: It's just traffic, no CPU usage. I suppose it's some bad interaction between Firefox and the page, but I would need tcpdump to be ready for a debug session. – David Tonhofer Feb 26 at 15:28
  • Miners would more affect the CPU usage, not the data usage. – Robert Feb 26 at 18:29

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