Firefox Users – Upgrade to Firefox 59 for Privacy Improvements

Firefox 59, the latest version of Mozilla’s popular web browser, has several privacy and security improvements that users may be interested in.  Our standard recommendation is always to use the newest browser versions, so upgrading to Firefox 59 should be a no-brainer.

Firefox 59 had added an option to block the most serious privacy concerns in a new Settings menu.  You can find the available options by opening the Settings menu (the “stack of pancakes” or three horizontal lines), selecting Preferences, and then opening the Privacy And Security panel.

Privacy improvements include:

  • Website notification pop-up blocking.  To enable this feature, check the box marked “Block new requests asking to allow notifications”, accessed through Tools > Options > Permissions.
  • Microphone and camera blocking.  Firefox will block the ability of a website to turn on your camera or microphone.
  • Blocking location data.  Another creepy intrusion, namely location information, will also be blocked in Firefox 59.
  • Improvements in Privacy Browsing Mode.  Firefox 59 also now plugs leaky referrers (aka cross-site tracking) in Private Browsing Mode.  A terrifying example of leaky referrer headers is  the US government’s healthcare.gov website (the sign-up system for the US Affordable Care Act) which could leak information about whether users were pregnant or a smoker; as well as their age, salary and zip code.  See the example below from Naked Security.
Referer: https://www.healthcare.gov/see-plans/85601/results/?
county=04019&age=40&smoker=1&pregnant=1&zip=85601&state=AZ&income=35000

If you currently user Firefox, make sure you have the new version.  You can check by clicking the menu button, click Help and select About Firefox. The About Firefox window will appear. The version number is listed underneath the Firefox name.

Naked Security reported Firefox has also released a security add-in for Facebook, too.

“Mozilla has released a new extension called the Facebook container extension for its Firefox browser. In Mozilla’s own words, the extension “prevents Facebook from tracking you around the web.” Essentially, it keeps all Facebook activity within the browser tab where you are actively looking at Facebook, and it slaps Facebook’s hand if it tries to do anything outside of that tab.”

I’m beginning to think I need to change browsers again.

More information:

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About the Author:

Cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. Serving small business owners in the St Paul, Minneapolis, and western Wisconsin area since 2001. Cybersecurity and hacking have been a passion of mine since I entered the computer and networking business in 2000. I hold several cybersecurity certifications including Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Advanced Security Pratitioner (CASP), and Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). Other computer industry certifications include A+, Network+ and Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE). As Cybersecurity Analyst at The WyzCo Group, I help our clients experience high levels of security on their computers, networks, and websites. In addition to consulting on security products and services, we also conduct security audits, vulnerability assessments and full penetration tests. We also work with companies and organizations that need to certify compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS (credit card processing), HIPAA/HITECH (medical records), and GLBA. We also provide Cybersecurity Awareness Training for clients and their employees. I am a frequent speakers at cybersecurity conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference, the (ISC)2 World Congress, and the ISSA International Conference, and many local community organizations, Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. I have been blogging on cybersecurity since 2008.
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