Firefox now blocks third-party trackers by default

Enhanced Tracking Protection, turned on by default, also blocks cryptominers and fingerprinting scripts

Firefox icon

The desktop version of Firefox will block cookies and cryptocurrency mining by default as part of sweeping changes to the web browser aimed at safeguarding user privacy.

Mozilla will enforce Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) as standard practice for all users as part of the default Firefox configuration, from today, and will block known third-party tracking cookies, the company has announced.

The cookies will be cross-referenced with the 'Disconnect' list of known third-party trackers that comprise websites that collect and retain data regarding users' activity across multiple sites or applications.

This feature has been widely-anticipated since Mozilla outlined its plans in January, and has been available for new users since June this year. The feature now, however, concerns a fresh approach to anti-tracking the firm outlined recently based on testing and revision.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Mozilla also previously teased a subscription-based version of Firefox with additional privacy-centric features, which also reportedly featured ETP available as standard.

"Currently over 20% of Firefox users have Enhanced Tracking Protection on. With today's release, we expect to provide protection for 100% of our users by default," Mozilla said.

"Enhanced Tracking Protection works behind-the-scenes to keep a company from forming a profile of you based on their tracking of your browsing behaviour across websites - often without your knowledge or consent.

"Those profiles and the information they contain may then be sold and used for purposes you never knew or intended. Enhanced Tracking Protection helps to mitigate this threat and puts you back in control of your online experience."

The ETP functionality will also work in the background to prevent illicit cryptocurrency mining scripts from draining users' CPU usage and battery power on their devices. This feature has existed in previous beta versions of Firefox but is now available as standard to all.

Users will know ETP is switched on by the appearance of a purple shield icon in the far-left corner of their address bar. This will show when users visit websites on which third-party tracking cookies are being actively blocked.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Firefox will also block fingerprinting scripts - which harvest a sampling of details from users' devices when visiting a particular website - by default. This snapshot of information can then be used to track users across the web.

Users can block fingerprinting scripts if they turn on 'strict mode', with Mozilla also suggesting this protection will be bundled into the default settings in future releases.

Asked whether there's a risk of reducing the user experience by prioritising privacy, a Mozilla spokesperson said: "ETP only blocks third-party tracking cookies from the Disconnect list. First-party cookies that are used by website providers to improve the user experience on their sites are unaffected.

"ETP works in the background to protect users' privacy. We have extensively tested it and, based on the results of that testing, we do not expect that users will run into issues. If users experience unforeseen issues that were not identified during testing, they can hit the "report a problem" link under the "i" icon in the address bar."

Featured Resources

What you need to know about migrating to SAP S/4HANA

Factors to assess how and when to begin migration

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

Testing for compliance just became easier

How you can use technology to ensure compliance in your organisation

Download now

Best practices for implementing security awareness training

How to develop a security awareness programme that will actually change behaviour

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/internet-security/354417/avast-and-avg-extensions-pulled-from-chrome
internet security

Avast and AVG extensions pulled from Chrome

19 Dec 2019
Visit/security/354156/google-confirms-android-cameras-can-be-hijacked-to-spy-on-you
Security

Google confirms Android cameras can be hijacked to spy on you

20 Nov 2019

Most Popular

Visit/policy-legislation/data-governance/354496/brexit-security-talks-under-threat-after-uk-accused-of
data governance

Brexit security talks under threat after UK accused of illegally copying Schengen data

10 Jan 2020
Visit/microsoft-windows/32066/what-to-do-if-youre-still-running-windows-7
Microsoft Windows

What to do if you're still running Windows 7

14 Jan 2020
Visit/hardware/laptops/354533/dell-xps-13-new-9300-hands-on-review-chasing-perfection
Laptops

Dell XPS 13 (New 9300) hands-on review: Chasing perfection

14 Jan 2020
Visit/operating-systems/25802/17-windows-10-problems-and-how-to-fix-them
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020