Earlier today, Mozilla announced some improved security and privacy integrations for its Firefox browser. Two new features are coming to the early testing versions of the browser (Nightly, Developer, and Beta).
One tool is the integration of anti-fingerprinting support. If you are unfamiliar with fingerprinting, it is a solution for tracking users as they browse. Unlike cookies, fingerprinting gives companies the ability to create a profile of the user through tracking their machine's configuration, time zone, HTTP headers, and other factors.
Fingerprinting is much more covert than cookies, which are often blockable when visiting a site for the first time. Of course, advertisers are embracing fingerprinting as a way to follow users and target ads to them.
Mozilla is adding anti-fingerprinting controls, allowing users to actively block websites using the technique. As part of its recent anti-tracking initiative, Mozilla is working with anti-tracking firm Disconnect to create a list of websites that are known to employ fingerprinting. The new controls are available in Firefox Nightly 68 and Firefox Beta 67.
Elsewhere, Firefox will also stop malicious cryptomining. This is where miners of cryptocurrency hijack a system resources to power their own mining projects:
“Another category of scripts called “cryptominers” run costly operations on your web browser without your knowledge or consent,” Mozilla explains. “Using the power of your computer's CPU to generate cryptocurrency for someone else's benefit. These scripts slow down your computer, drain your battery and rack up your electric bill.”
Firefox users can access the new features by going to “Privacy and Security” in the browser options and choosing “Content Blocking”. Once in this sub-menu, check the Fingerprinters and Cryptominers boxes.