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[This article is originally published in written by KATHARINE SCHWAB - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Wushe Zhiyang]

You’re probably sick of hearing about data and privacy by now–especially because, if you live in the United States, you might feel like there’s very little you can do to protect yourself from giant corporations feeding off your time, interests, and personal information.

So how do you walk the line between taking advantage of the internet’s many benefits while protecting yourself from the corporate interests that aim to use your data for gain? This is the push-and-pull I’ve had with myself over the past year, as I’ve grappled with the revelations that Cambridge Analytica has the personal data of more than 50 million Americans, courtesy of Facebook, and used it to manipulate people in the 2016 elections. I’ve watched companies shut down their European branches because Europe’s data privacy regulations invalidate their business models. And given the number of data breaches that have occurred over the past decade, there’s a good chance that malicious hackers have my info–and if they don’t, it’s only a matter of time.


While the amount of data about me may not have caused harm in my life yet–as far as I know–I don’t want to be the victim of monopolistic internet oligarchs as they continue to cash in on surveillance-based business models. What’s a concerned citizen of the internet to do? Here’s one no-brainer: Stop using Chrome and switch to Firefox.

Google already runs a lot of my online life–it’s my email, my calendar, my go-to map, and all my documents. I use Duck Duck Go as my primary search engine because I’m aware of how much information about myself I voluntarily give to Google in so many other ways. I can’t even remember why I decided to use Chrome in the first place. The browser has become such a default for American internet users that I never even questioned it. Chrome has about 60% of the browser market, and Firefox has only 10%. But why should I continue to use the company’s browser, which acts as literally the window through which I experience much of the internet, when its incentives–to learn a lot about me so it can sell advertisements–don’t align with mine?

Firefox launched in 2004. It’s not a new option among internet privacy wonks. But I only remembered it existed recently while reporting on data privacy. Unlike Chrome, Firefox is run by Mozilla, a nonprofit organization that advocates for a “healthy” internet. Its mission is to help build an internet in an open-source manner that’s accessible to everyone–and where privacy and security are built in. Contrast that to Chrome’s privacy policy, which states that it stores your browsing data locally unless you are signed in to your Google account, which enables the browser to send that information back to Google. The policy also states that Chrome allows third-party websites to access your IP address and any information that the site has tracked using cookies. If you care about privacy at all, you should ditch the browser that supports a company using data to sell advertisements and enabling other companies to track your online movements for one that does not use your data at all.

Though Mozilla itself is a nonprofit, Firefox is developed within a corporation owned by the nonprofit. This enables the Mozilla Corporation to collect revenue to support its development of Firefox and other internet services. Ironically, Mozilla supports its developers using revenue from Google, which pays the nonprofit to have Google Search as Firefox’s default search engine. That’s not its sole revenue: Mozilla also has other agreements with search engines around the world, like Baidu in China, to be the default search engine in particular locations. But because it relies on these agreements rather than gathering user data so it can sell advertisements, the Mozilla Corporation has a fundamentally different business model than Google. Internet service providers pay Mozilla, rather than Mozilla having to create revenue out of its user base. It’s more of a subscription model than a surveillance model, and users always have the choice to change their search engine to whichever they prefer.

I spoke to Madhava Enros, the senior director of Firefox UX, and Peter Dolanjski, a product manager for Firefox, to learn more about how Mozilla’s browser builds privacy into its architecture. Core to their philosophy? Privacy and convenience don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Instead, Firefox’s designers and developers try to make the best decision on behalf of the user, while always leaning toward privacy first. “We put the user first in terms of privacy,” Dolanjski says. “We do not collect personally identifiable data, not what you do or what websites you go to.”

That’s not just lip service like it often is when companies like Facebook claim that users are in control of their data. For instance, Firefox protects you from being tracked by advertising networks across websites, which has the lovely side effect of making sites load faster. “As you move from website to website, advertising networks essentially follow you so they can see what you’re doing so they can serve you targeted advertisements,” Dolanjski says. “Firefox is the only [major] browser out of the box that prevents that from happening.” The browser’s Tracking Protection feature automatically blocks a list of common trackers in private browsing mode and can be enabled to run all the time, something you need a specific, third-party browser extension to do on Chrome.

The “out of the box” element of Firefox’s privacy protection is crucial. Chrome does give you many privacy controls, but the default for most of them is to allow Google to collect the greatest amount of information about you as possible. For instance, Google Chrome gives users the option to tell every website you go to not to track you, but it’s not automatically turned on. Firefox offers the same function to add a “Do Not Track” tag to every site you visit–but when I downloaded the browser, the default was set to “always.”

Firefoxs privacy protection

Because Chrome settings that don’t encourage privacy are the default, users are encouraged to leave them as they are from the get-go, and likely don’t understand what data Google vacuums up. Even if you do care, reading through Google Chrome’s 13,500-word privacy white paper, which uses a lot of technical jargon and obfuscates exactly what data the browser is tracking, isn’t helpful either. When I reached out to Google with questions about what data Chrome tracks, the company sent me that white paper but didn’t answer any of my specific questions.

One downside to using Firefox is that many browser extensions are built primarily for Chrome–my password manager luckily has a Firefox extension but it often causes the browser to crash. However, Mozilla also builds extensions you can use exclusively on Firefox. After the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica firestorm, Firefox released an extension called the Facebook Container, which allows you to browse Facebook or Instagram normally, but prevents Facebook from tracking where you went when you left the site–and thus stops the company from tracking you around the web and using that information to build out a more robust personal profile of you.

Mozilla Firefox released an extension called the Facebook Container

Firefox isn’t even Mozilla’s most private browser. The nonprofit also has a mobile-only browser called Firefox Focus that basically turns Firefox’s private browsing mode (akin to incognito browsing on Chrome, but with much less data leakage) into a full-fledged browser on its own. Privacy is built right into Focus’s UX: There’s a large “erase” button on every screen that lets you delete all of your histories with a single tap.

Firefox’s private browsing mode also has a feature called “origin referrer trimming,” where the browser automatically deletes the information about which site you’re coming from when you land on the next page. Focus also blocks any analytics services that would take this information. “The user doesn’t need to think about that,” Dolanjski says. “It’s not heavily advertised, but it’s the little decisions we make along the way that meant the user doesn’t have to make the choice”–or even know what origin referrer trimming is in the first place.

Firefoxs private browsing mode

Many of these decisions, both in Firefox and in Focus, are to guard against what Enros calls the “uncanny valley” of internet browsing–when ads follow you around the internet for weeks. “I buy a toaster, and now it feels like the internet has decided I’m a toaster enthusiast and I want to hear about toasters for the rest of my life,” he says. “It’s not a scary thing. I’m not scared of toasters, but it’s in an uncanny valley in which I wonder what kinds of decisions they’re making about me.”

Ultimately, Firefox’s designers have the leeway to make these privacy-first decisions because Mozilla’s motivations are fundamentally different from Google’s. Mozilla is a nonprofit with a mission, and Google is a for-profit corporation with an advertising-based business model. To a large degree, Google’s business model relies on users giving up their data, making it incompatible with the kind of internet that Firefox is mission-bound to build. It comes back to money: While Firefox and Chrome ultimately perform the same service, the browsers’ developers approached their design in a radically different way because one organization has to serve a bottom line, and the other doesn’t.

That also means Firefox’s mission is aligned with its users. The browser is explicitly designed to help people like me navigate the convenience versus privacy conundrum. “To a great degree, people like us need solutions that aren’t going to detrimentally impact our convenience. This is where privacy is often difficult online,” Dolanjski says. “People say, go install this VPN, do this and do that, and add all these layers of complexity. The average user or even tech-savvy user that doesn’t have the time to do all these things will choose convenience over privacy. We try to make meaningful decisions on behalf of the user so we don’t need to put something else in front of them.”

When GDPR, the most sweeping privacy law in recent years, went into effect last week, we saw firsthand how much work companies were requiring users to do–just think of all those opt-in emails. Those emails are certainly a step toward raising people’s awareness about privacy, but I deleted almost all of them without reading them, and you probably did, too. Mozilla’s approach is to make the best decision for users’ privacy in the first place, without requiring so much effort on the users’ part.

Because who really spends any time in their privacy settings? Settings pages aren’t a good UX solution to providing clear information about how data is used, which is now required in Europe because of GDPR. “Control can’t mean the responsibility to scrutinize every possible option to keep yourself safe,” Enros says. “We assume a position to keep you safe, and then introducing more controls for experts.”

Firefox doesn’t always work better than Chrome–sometimes it’ll freeze on my older work computer, and I do need to clear my history more frequently so the browser doesn’t get too slow. But these are easy trade-offs to make, knowing that by using Firefox, my data is safe with me.

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Mozilla has unveiled a new browser called Firefox Quantum, which is supposedly twice as fast as the older version of the program as it uses a new core engine, coupled with the significantly reduced use of memory space. Firefox Quantum represents the largest upgrade Mozilla has made to its web browser since it rolled out version 1.0 of Firefox thirteen years ago. The new version of Firefox is now rolling out to desktop and laptop computers running Windows, Linux or Mac, as well as mobile devices powered by Android and iOS.

One of the most noticeable upgrades that comes with Firefox Quantum is that opening a website or web page happens very quickly, with the current tab no longer showing the rotating icon for page loads in most cases. The non-profit organization boasts of Firefox Quantum as the fastest browser compared to all other browsers it produced in the past. As well as the improved speed, the new Firefox browser also includes a fresh user interface called Photon, which gained its new look based on the way internet users surfed the web, thanks to Mozilla’s user research team which conducted the study. Mozilla said a lot of work has been brought into play as part of the development efforts for Firefox Quantum. For instance, over 700 authors have written code for Firefox since its initial release in August, with contributions from some 80 other code authors from across the globe. A beta versionof Firefox Quantum went live in September, having already demonstrated significantly improved performance. In fact, Mozilla backed its claim with a web test benchmark called Speedometer 2.0 as well as a video clip showcasing that Firefox Quantum performed better than Google Chrome.

Additionally, Mozilla also introduced a new CSS engine to the browser called Stylo, which uses hardware with multiple cores that work best for tasks that require less power. Additionally, although subtle, Firefox Quantum prioritizes a tab that a user is on above the rest by optimizing system resources. As to the default search engine for the browser, users in the United States and Canada will have Google as the automatic search tool once they launch Firefox Quantum. This is after Mozilla teamed up with Google to provide its search engine as the default option for Firefox in the United States, Canada, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, though users can also browse with other search engines of their choice as usual.

Source: This article was published By Manny Reyes

Categorized in Search Engine

What’s that thing Bill Gates said? “The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.” When Robert Kahn and Vincent Cerf laid the bedrocks to what we call the modern cyberspace in 1973, they envisioned the Internet to be a storehouse of information, a massive, decentralized library that housed the collective brainchild of every great thinker in the free world. It was supposed to be the one solution to every problem. Have a question? Well, here’s your answer. Unfortunately, though, the reality has never been that simple. The internet is no magic wand, it can offer no single solution to all of life’s problems. Instead, just like all of humanity’s greatest inventions, it’s a very complicated and highly precise mechanism. One with exceeding capability and admirable outreach. However, as with any other mechanism, the internet is shaped by the people who use it, for better or for worse. In the last decade, we saw this beast take center stage in much of the world’s greatest events, socially, economically and politically. From human rights crusaders to advocates of political reform, from scientific visionaries to cancer patients in need of funds, everyone made use of the internet as a podium for sharing concerns and asking for assistance. In inventing the internet, we unleashed a hydra. What remains to be seen is whether we can control it.

“It’s not honest to roll that answer off as saying we didn’t have any idea what we had done, or what the opportunity was.” - Vincent Cerf in an interview with Wired Magazine, 2012.

“The internet is deep waters,” said Cassandra, mother of three and my next-door neighbour for the last six years, “I could never trust my kids around it until they are older”. She is a good parent, Cassie, but her concerns for her children’s safety sometimes extend to the point of paranoia. In this case, though, her concerns are quite genuine. From pedophiles lurking behind false social media accounts to cyber-bullies looking for easy prey, the last few years showed us just how dangerous certain places on the internet can be for the underaged. The keyword here is ‘certain places’. “This is something I think about every day as a parent”, said Denelle Dixon, Chief Business and Legal Officer at the Mozilla Foundation, while also making known that her own approach was that of teaching her children to use the internet responsibly rather than having them shut out of the system altogether. The reason? As parents, we often think it best to keep our kids away from the web until they are a certain age. The problem with this attitude, however, is that teaching someone to use the internet sensibly while they are still young goes a long way towards making them responsible netizens when they are older. By shutting them out of the cyber-scenario altogether, parents raise ignorant children who have no idea how the internet works and are unfit to participate in it even when they are old enough. In fact, as evidence would suggest it, a recent report found that two-thirds of teenagers in the UK can’t even tell the search results away from the advertisements on Google.

The aforementioned is one of the many points brought forth by the Internet Health Report released by the Mozilla Foundation on January 19, a comprehensive document that chronicles the failing health of the internet as we know it. A quick web search reveals that the number of websites currently live on the internet is as many as 1.1 billion. While that sounds like a great victory for free speech champions, dig deeper and you will find that about 60% of the traffic that goes into these 1.1 billion websites is essentially directed towards behemoths such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, while only 40% of the web traffic goes to the rest of the internet. For the average user, ‘surfing the internet’ consists of nothing but performing a search on Google, updating their status on Facebook and uploading a picture on Instagram. It is sad how the internet, which is supposed to be a gladiator of free speech, is essentially controlled by a few large content providers with their own corporate agendas. What’s more, content providers aren’t the only ones fighting to take control over the internet. Network companies such as AT&T and Verizon have long opposed the free and open environment that has made the internet such a great medium of communication.

When I spoke to retired FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, now a senior fellow at the Aspen Institute, he expressed clear concerns over the imminent collapse of the structures and regulations that he put in place during his tenure at the FCC to keep the internet free from the grasp of network overlords. The new administration’s largely corporate outlook, combined with their public dissent over the current ‘net neutrality’ regulations, are a strong indication of troubled times according to Mr. Wheeler. He expressed his obvious distaste for the duplicitous ways of net neutrality opponents such as AT&T, going above and beyond to say that the free internet is something that must be protected at all costs. As for reducing the corporate hold over the internet, Mozilla Director Mark Surman recommended implementing open source standards for programming and design on the web, something that his organization has already taken great interest in lately.

“If we have proper legislation in the networks, the rest will fall into place on its own.” - Tom Wheeler, Senior Fellow at the Aspen Institute and Retired Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

When it all started out, the Internet was heralded as the one platform where everybody could open up to each other secured by a veil of anonymity. However, the way corporate interests have been using the internet as a weapon for surveillance has presented it as a threat to the very privacy it was supposed to defend. Just last December, the widely used note sharing app Evernote made a seemingly innocuous change to their privacy policy, one which basically allowed its executives to snoop around people’s private notes in order to improve its machine learning technology. In the meantime, almost every website that you visit today inserts a delicious cookie into your web browser that allows it to track your every moment, from the sites you visit to the location you are in, and in some extreme cases, even the sensitive data you share online. Adwords, the interest-based advertising giant from Google, is especially known for its behavioral targeting technology, which now uses personally identifiable information in an attempt to shove more lucrative advertisements down your throat as you surf the web each day. When it comes to safeguarding user privacy, the internet clearly lacks the necessary legislation and infrastructure required to secure the activities that occur as a result of the myriad new opportunities offered by the infobahn.

The last five years haven’t been all bad for the internet. Several educational programs such as the EU Code Week and the New York Public Library TechConnect have sprung up in support of web literacy. Intense activism has led to the formulation of net neutrality laws in the US, UK and India. More and more instant messaging applications are offering ‘end-to-end encryption’ technology as an initiative towards securing privacy. However, if we were to just sit down and compare the ups and downs, we would find that the bad greatly outweighs the good for the internet in the last half-decade. The internet may be the ultimate platform for personal expression, but it isn’t entirely self-sufficient. Every now and then, it requires careful guidance to shove it in the right direction. While the last few years have clearly shown us that such guidance has been inadequate, it may not be too late to get behind these issues while there is time, at least, that is what I would like to believe.

Author : Harold Stark 

Source :

Categorized in Internet Ethics

As it turns out, Microsoft did not oversell its replacement for Internet Explorer. The Microsoft Edge browser has recently been found to live up to its tagline as the “faster, safer browser for Windows 10.” In fact, the relatively new program from the Redmond giant was found to be the safest browser when compared to its biggest rivals, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. 

NSS Labs, the leading information security company in the world, published a report about web browsers this week. The report focused on how malware could penetrate computers through the program. As such, the company emphasized how the web browser should serve as the first line of defense against malware. The study was conducted in a span of 14 days — from Sept. 26, 2016 to Oct. 9, 2016. The main goal was to identify the competency of the web browser’s security. 

Based on the report, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox were all subjected to the same set of malware. The study involved the use of 304 unique suspicious samples. Out of the three, Microsoft Edge managed to block 99 percent of the suspicious samples. Google Chrome came next after blocking 85.8 percent of malware, while Firefox finished last by blocking 78.3 percent of malware. 

According to How To Geek, the main reason why the Edge browser did better was thanks to its SmartScreen feature. The feature was first introduced to consumers in Internet Explorer 7. Previously, it was referred to as “Phishing Filter.” It is responsible for showing users a red page that notifies users about the threat of accessing a website with malware. 

When time or the readiness of a web browser to counter the threat is considered, Microsoft Edge still remained triumphant. NSS Labs stated in the report that Microsoft’s browser block the malware in less than ten minutes on average. Following behind is Chrome with two hours and 39 minutes. As for Firefox, it took more than three hours and 45 minutes for it to block malware.

Despite the positive news, users are still advised to obtain a good antivirus program if they want to boost their line of defense against attacks and malware. After all, having a safe browser is not enough at a time when online attacks have become rampant. 


Source :

Categorized in How to

Mozilla has once again taken a vow to fight for internet user’s privacy and net neutrality.

The company unveiled it 2015 annual report Thursday, which stated that the company will continue to protect, and fight for online user’s privacy and rights. It stated that they have strong beliefs in transparency, user control, and trust when it comes to advocating for online rights.

Their report mentions several key issues for privacy related initiatives. Among them was the company’s action in the Apple Vs. FBI court proceedings in which the FBI demanded that Apple unlock the cellphone of a terrorist shooter in California. Apple protected the privacy of its customer regardless of terrorist actions, but in the end the FBI was able to get into the iPhone without help from Apple.

Mozilla was among the tech giants that argued in court that the government has no right to take over a company, and their engineers to “undermine” their security features. Mozilla also stated that it will work to help keep the net neutrality rules that were passed last year by the FCC. They may face big obstacles from the incoming Trump administration. The rules stop broadband service providers from blocking or bottlenecking traffic, as well as stopping them from charging higher fees to “prioritize” the delivery of their material.

Any new administration can reconsider the issue. We hope they don’t. But, if the issue is revisited, we are all still here, and so are others who supported and fought for net neutrality.

Making the bulk of its revenue last year by funding work through various research partnerships, the nonprofit was able to raise $420 million dollars, no small number.

From fighting court battles and lobbying for the little man, to actively finding and patching security flaws and exploits, Mozilla wants you to know they have your back. While it’s not Mozilla per se, that is under attack or a target of the government; The Tor Project and Tor Browser however, are. Security flaws in Firefox most certainly spell security flaws in Tor as well. Since October we have heard Mozilla and Tor have been working together to find, and fix security flaws, exploits, as well as develop ways of protecting users against Malware attacks.

The most famous of cases has to be the FBI’s takeover of Playpen using a Firefox exploit to target, and unmask Tor users. When questioned about how exactly it was done, the FBI was very, very hesitant to give up any information at all. Mozilla once again went to bat for the little man, and tried to make the FBI give up the information on how exactly it all went down. After a lengthy court battle, the verdict decisions were both ways. Some judges were ruling for the FBI, some weren’t. When you think of online privacy fighters, Mozilla should be first, or in the very least second, only to organizations such as the EFF and The Tor Project.



Categorized in News & Politics

The makers of Firefox are today introducing a new mobile web browser for iOS users that puts private browsing at the forefront of the user experience. Called Firefox Focus, the mobile browser by default blocks ad trackers, and erases your browsing history, including your passwords and cookies.

The end result is a simplified browser that may load web pages more quickly, the company claims, given that ads and other web trackers can bog down pages and impact performance.

The app was originally launched on the App Store almost a year ago, but at the time was designed as an ad-blocking utility that could remove ads and trackers from iPhone’s Safari browser. That feature is still available in the revamped app, but it’s now aiming to compete more directly with Safari, too.

The browser itself doesn’t have any bells and whistles compared to its rivals, however. There are no tabs, no list of favorite sites, or numerous other configuration options. Instead, a trip to the Settings section only lets you toggle on or off the data you want to block, like ad trackers, analytics trackers, social trackers, other content trackers and web fonts.

Oddly, given the widespread privacy issues Yahoo is facing in the wake of one of the largest data breaches of all time, Firefox Focus has opted to use Yahoo Search as its default search engine. There doesn’t appear to be a way to change this in the current version, which is frustrating. (Update: Mozilla says search engine choice will arrive in a later release. Other markets outside the U.S. may have a different engine than Yahoo.)

Pointing users to Google may seem counterintuitive for a company focused on protecting personal data, but eliminating user choice in such a Big Brother-like fashion under the guise of knowing what’s best is off-putting, as well.screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-10-57-11-am

After you complete a web search, you can erase that activity with a simple press of an “erase” button. Firefox Focus could have automated this, but there’s something about manually clearing a search that feels cathartic.

Despite an increased interest in privacy — especially now, following this period of tumultuous political upheaval here in the U.S. — Firefox may again be too late the game to compete. Already, the top mobile browser makers offer private browsing modes, and there are a number of third-parties that have made private browsing a focus for years, like Tor. The App Store, too, is filled with utilities for private browsing, including a number of startups like Ghostery, Dolphin, Brave and others.

Once one of the world’s top browsers in the desktop era, Firefox didn’t really weather the shift to mobile. Instead of jumping to produce a mobile-friendly browser for the dominant platforms, it protested against the App Store’s restrictions, refusing to build an iOS versionfor years. That finally changed, and Firefox for iOS launched to all around a year ago. But it simply was too late to matter.

The new Firefox Focus is a free download on the Apple App Store. No word on if or when an Android version will be ready.

Author:  Sarah Perez


Categorized in Science & Tech

Law enforcement agencies and malicious hackers may have a harder time getting access to the IP addresses of Tor users.

Thanks to upcoming security upgrades that Tor Project and the creators of Mozilla Firefox have been discreetly working on.

Since Tor’s security is never-ending as it stands, hacking an individual user’s computer has proved to be the only vulnerability on which the authorities have banked on time and again to de-anonymize Tor users.

By hacking these endpoints, investigators are able to acquire the IP addresses of the users and thus, their locations.

The new twists and upgrades serve to make the process of unmasking these users a lot harder, if not impossible.

Firefox Security Lead, Richard Barnes explained in an email to Motherboard that currently, they had already created all the basic tools needed for the security upgrades and were in the process of gaining those tools in order to turn realize the concept.

Where the Vulnerability Lies

To break it down, Barnes explained that the Tor Browser has two major constituents: the Tor proxy that is necessary to route the browser’s traffic through the Tor network itself and the modified part of Firefox that makes accessing the network possible.

The Firefox part of the Tor Browser is where the vulnerability lies, according to Barnes, as it is dependent on network access in order to communicate with the Tor proxy.

When compromised, the Firefox part of the Tor Browser can be used to connect to another entity—say a government server—which then puts the user’s anonymity at risk as it reveals information such as the user’s IP address.

FBI Has Successfully Breached Tor Using That Weakness

Tor Project and Mozilla Firefox developers are working together on a security upgrade to deter law enforcement to access the identity of Tor users.
Tor Project and Mozilla Firefox developers are working together on a security upgrade to deter law enforcement to access the identity of Tor users.

The FBI has manipulated this vulnerability before in February 2015 when they used a NIT (Network Investigative Technique) to reveal the IP address of a visitor of a child pornography site.

The malware is suspected to have exploited one of Tor Browser’s weaknesses that people suspect the FBI have under wraps to access the computer before forcing it into contacting a government server outside of the encrypted network.

This way, the law enforcement agency was able to get information that led to the arrest of the suspect.

The upcoming upgrade looks to remove the need for network access in order for the two halves of the Tor Browser to communicate.

With the support of Unix domain sockets’, the two integrated programs should be able to communicate with each other without necessitating an underlying network protocol.

As such, the Firefox side of the Tor browser will no longer be easy to compromise.

Sandboxing Will Cut Off Network Access to the Firefox Half

Barnes added that the new security upgrade will allow Tor users to run it in a sandbox without requiring any network access other than a Unix domain socket to the proxy.

Furthermore, in the event the Firefox half of the Tor browser was compromised, law enforcement agencies would have no network connection with which to relay the user’s information to their servers.

Barnes gave a brief overview of how the Tor Project and the Mozilla Firefox team came to collaborate on this new project.

While Tor Project gave the Tor proxy and the Tor browser Unix socket capabilities, Mozilla made the Firefox browser generally capable of talking to proxies over Unix domain sockets.

Afterward, Tor proceeded to add this capability to their browser as Mozilla chipped in every once in a while to fix any bugs that came up.

Release Set For Early Next Year

As it stands, Barnes revealed that the upgrade will only work on MacOS and Linux platforms since they already have the necessary sockets, although they are working on extending the capability to the Windows platform.

However, there are some stipulations to be followed in order to get the plan to work.

Other than the availability of the sockets in question on all the platforms, users will also require a compatible sandbox in order to inhibit the Firefox half of the Tor browser from gaining network access in case it is compromised.

The support will be available in Firefox 51, which is set for release in January 2017.

Source : darkwebnews

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Mozilla made a strategic investment in Cliqz, maker of an iOS and Android browser with a built-in search engine, “to enable innovation of privacy-focused search experiences”.

Mark Mayo, SVP of Mozilla Firefox, said Cliqz’s products “align with the Mozilla mission. We are proud to help advance the privacy-focused innovation from Cliqz through this strategic investment in their company”.

Cliqz is based in Munich and is majority-owned by international media and technology company Hubert Burda Media.

The Cliqz for Firefox Add-on is already available as a free download. It adds to Firefox “an innovative quick search engine as well as privacy and safety enhancements such as anti-tracking”, said Mozilla.

Cliqz quick search is available in Cliqz’s browsers for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS. The desktop and iOS versions are built on Mozilla Firefox open source technology and offer built-in privacy and safety features.

Cliqz quick search is optimised for the German language and shows website suggestions, news and information to enable users to search quickly.

It claimed that while conventional search engines primarily work with data related to the content, structuring, and linking of websites, instead it works with statistical data on actual search queries and website visits.

It has developed a technology capable of collecting this information and then building a web index out of it, something it calls the ‘Human Web’.

What’s more, Cliqz’s “privacy-by-design” architecture technology guarantees that no personal data or personally identifiable information is transmitted or saved on its servers.

Jean-Paul Schmetz, founder and managing director at Cliqz, said Mozilla is the ideal company to work with because both parties believe in an open internet where people have control over their data.

“Data and search are our core competencies and it makes us proud to contribute our search and privacy technologies to the Mozilla ecosystem,” he said.

Source :

Categorized in Science & Tech

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