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Published on August 13th, 2019 📆 | 1690 Views ⚑

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Mozilla Firefox 68 Released With Security and Extension Enhancements

Mozilla has officially released Firefox 68 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iOS.  This version comes with tracking protection changes, extension changes, better dark mode support, security improvements, enterprise enhancements, and better developer support.

Firefox 68 About Page

With the release of Firefox 68, the other development branches of Firefox have also moved up a version. This brings Firefox Beta to version 69 and the Nightly builds to version 70.

You can download Firefox 68 from the following links:

Below are the major changes in Firefox 68, but for those who wish to read the full change log, you can do so here.

Changes in Tracking Protection

With this release, Mozilla has added Fingerprinting and Cryptominer blocking to the “Strict” setting for the Content Blocking feature. These protections were previously only available in the “Custom” setting.

Strict Tracking Protection
Strict Tracking Protection

Firefox Extension Changes

Mozilla has redesigned the about:addons page to include a variety of features. This includes a redesigned permissions page that let’s you see exactly what permissions have been granted to an extension.

Extension Permissions
Extension Permissions

In addition, the Get Add-ons section has been removed and replaced with a “Recommendations” section that lists recommended extensions that have “been thoroughly reviewed for security, usability and usefulness.”

Finally, you can now report an extension by right-clicking on its icon and selecting “Report Extension” or by selecting the same option in the about:addons screen.

Report Extension Context Menu
Report Extension Context Menu

When you report the extension, you will be shown a screen asking that allows you to tell Mozilla the issues you are having with the extension.

Report Extension
Report Extension

Windows BITS support for Firefox updates

As part of a larger plan of separating the Firefox updates into a standalone app, Firefox has now made it possible to use Windows Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) to download Firefox updates in the background.

The benefit of using BITS is that if a download is interrupted, BITS can restart it where it left off at a later time. This makes it faster and use less bandwidth when downloading updates on slower or poor connections.

Security Improvements

There have been no known security fixes with this release according to the Mozilla Security Advisories for Firefox page.

There have, though, been some changes in Firefox that lend to increase security. This includes:

  • “Local files can no longer access other files in the same directory.”
  • When an HTTPS error caused by antivirus software is detected, Firefox will attempt to automatically fix it. This should fix a recurring issue where antivirus vendors who install their own certificates in order to scan encrypted web traffic cause certificate errors when using of Firefox.
  • Camera and microphone access now require an HTTPS connection. This is an important security enhancement as previously bad actors could potentially sniff the web traffic and reconstruct the audio and video from the unencrypted HTTP connection.

Dark Mode enhancements:

Mozilla has added “Blackout Shades” to the Firefox Reader View. This change makes even the sidebars and toolbars match the dark mode setting of your operating system.

Dark Mode in Reader View
Dark Mode in Reader View

iOS changes

With the iOS release, users can now edit, reorder, rename, or change the URL for any previously saved bookmarks.

Move Bookmark in iOS
Move Bookmark in iOS

Other changes

Developer changes:

Firefox 68 includes the follow improvements for developers:

  • “Added about:compat, where website-specific workarounds are listed and may be toggled. These workarounds are meant as temporary fixes for various forms of website breakage for Firefox, while the website fixes them in due time. With about:compat, it is now easy to see all of the workarounds that are active in Firefox, and easy for website developers to disable a given workaround for testing purposes.”
  • “Introduces CSS Scroll Snap module that enforces scroll snap positions.”
  • “Firefox Developer Tools now offers a full page color contrast audit that identifies all elements on a page that fail color contrast checks.”

Enterprise changes:

For the Enterprise, Mozilla has added new policies that can be used to manage the following features/behaviors:

  • New tab page configuration and disabling
  • Local file links
  • Download behavior
  • Search suggestions
  • Managed storage for using policies in Webextensions
  • Extension whitelisting and blacklisting by ID and website
  • A subset of commonly used Firefox preferences

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