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What's in the latest Firefox upgrade? Browse only over HTTPS


Mozilla this week upgraded Firefox to version 83, adding an “HTTPS-Only Mode” that tries to connect to all websites through the more secure HTTPS protocol and, after failing to do so, warning users of with a can’t-miss-it, in-your-face alert.

Company engineers also patched 21 vulnerabilities, four marked “High,” Firefox’s second-most-serious label. Firefox 83 did not include fixes for any bugs marked “Critical.”

Firefox 83 can be downloaded for Windows, macOS and Linux from Mozilla’s site. Because Firefox updates in the background, most users need only relaunch the browser to get the latest version. To manually update on Windows, pull up the menu under the three horizontal bars at the upper right, then click the help icon (the question mark within a circle). Choose “About Firefox.” (On macOS, “About Firefox” can be found under the “Firefox” menu.) The resulting page shows that the browser is either up to date or displays the refresh process.

Mozilla upgrades Firefox every four weeks, with the last refresh reaching users on Oct. 20.

HTTPS-Only

Easily the most promoted of Firefox 83’s new features, the HTTPS-Only Mode promises to keep the browser’s users more secure, especially when they’re relying on public connections to the Internet that themselves have not been encrypted.

“It is time to let our users choose to always use HTTPS,” wrote Christoph Kerschbaumer, Julian Gaibler, Arthur Edelstein and Thyla van der Merwe, four members of Mozilla’s security group, in a Tuesday post to the company’s security blog. “That’s why we have created HTTPS-Only Mode, which ensures that Firefox doesn’t make any insecure connections without your permission.”

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