Gaming in Your Browser is About to Get Interesting With WebAssembly

WebAssembly, it may be something that most of you have never really heard of, but it’s going to have a huge impact on the way we use or web browsers. WebAssembly is a compiling technology, which is capable of bringing browser output closer to that of native machine code; not even the best JavaScript compilers come anywhere near it in terms of performance.

Luke Wagner, a Mozilla developer, helped reveal the new additions as Mozilla Hacks this week, while also confirming the availability of WebAssembly ports of Unity’s Angry Bots. The game can now be played on a Chrome, Firefox, Edge and even Safari will be joining the party soon enough.

Below you’ll find a video released by Microsoft that shows the Angry Bots running in Edge using the Chakra engine via WebAssembly.

‘Despite being an early implementation, the demo starts-up significantly faster than just using asm.js as the WebAssembly binaries have a smaller file size and parse more quickly than plain JavaScript that needs to be parsed in the asm.js case.’ said Chakra Program Manager Limin Zhu.

The new format for native web applications supports all the functionality enabled by the asm.js JavaScript subset. Rather than replace Java, it’ll simply expand on what was already possible seamlessly, while allowing more direct access to processor instruction sets, and many other benefits.

‘Two upcoming changes will also significantly improve the developer experience. A standard textual representation of WebAssembly will enable developers to view the source of a WebAssembly binary like any other web script or resource. In addition, the current placeholder Wasm object will be redesigned to provide a more powerful, idiomatic set of methods and properties to instantiate and introspect WebAssembly modules from JavaScript.’ said V8 Java, while announcing their collaboration with WebAssembly.

So what does this mean for most users? Not much in technical terms, but it’s already leading to faster performance, more features and more functionality for or browsers and web applications, which is certainly no bad thing.

Mozilla Bans Popular YouTube Unblocker Add-On

One of Firefox’s popular add-ons has been kicked from the repository after repeated bad behavior, and it is unlikely to come back. The YouTube add-on uses a list of proxy servers to circumvent geoblocking of YouTube videos, which in itself is a very useful feature, but one that you’ll have to find another add-on for from now on.

The latest of multiple issues with the popular browser add-on that already accumulated over 250 thousand downloads started last weekend with a user reporting an issue on the Mozilla bug tracker. After installing the add-on, his anti-virus software alarmed him right away that it had blocked a download coming from a third-party website which had been flagged as malware by Avast Anti Virus.

On further examination, the user found out that the add-on was altering the browser settings and disabled the add-on signing feature preventing unauthorized installs, AKA add-ons that haven’t been signed or certificated by Mozilla. After disabling this security feature, the YouTube Unblocker add-on then went on to download another add-on called Adblock Converter from a third-party domain via an unsecured connection, an add-on that is categorized as malware and isn’t to be found in the official add-on library. To make matters even worse, users without proper anti-virus or anti malware solutions wouldn’t even know that this extra add-on was installed as it wouldn’t show up in the about:addons page either and it would reinstall itself again if a user managed to uninstall it in safe mode.

This is far from the first time that this add-on has been under investigation for bad behavior, last time in June 2015 where they were caught circumventing the official guidelines for add-ons with update code that bypassed the official Mozilla review process. Before that, they were caught tampering with search results and sending data back to the company without the users consent or knowledge, even when the user opted out of the feature.

Luckily for users who need a geo-unblocking feature for their Firefox browser, there are plenty of other alternatives to choose from.

Brave – The Browser That Blocks All External Ads

Created by Brendan Eich, co-founder and ex-CEO of Mozilla, yesterday revealed the new “Brave” browser, which disables all online ads and their associated tracking. This may sound too good to be true for users of ad blockers, and in a way, it is.

The crucial selling point of the Brave browser is to fight the privacy concerns raised with typical online ads, but replacing them with their own served ads. While this may just seem like trading one evil for another, Eich argues that Brave addresses the privacy concerns raised by targeted ads and those used to track users. Instead, all of Brave’s advertisements are anonymous and served from a private cloud in response to the browser’s requests, which share no user related information beyond there being an ad space to fill. Eich believes that websites that serve ads to their users in exchange for content cause an agency dilemma, making decisions for their users. Brave solves this issue as Brave users knowingly view their ads and do not have their data unwillingly shared.

The Brave browser is currently in version 0.7, meaning it is still an incomplete product aimed for use by developers and early adopters, a final launch date is yet to be determined. Brave is available for both Windows and Mac OSX as well as a mobile version for Android. Interestingly, despite Eich’s background with Mozilla, the desktop versions of Brave are based on Google’s open-source Chromium project.

Whether Brave’s appeal to privacy can win it a market share in the highly competitive browser market arena remains to be seen. With Eich’s strong credentials on the topic of the web, Brave could just be the next big thing with privacy becoming a more and more contested topic.

Mozilla Release 64bit Firefox

Nearly a decade after the idea was first floated around, Mozilla is finally releasing an official 64bit version of their popular browser. This confirms earlier speculation that the new flavour of the Firefox was going to drop soon. It’s also about 9 months since the first beta version of 64bit debuted and after various forks have already moved to 64bit. With this move, Mozilla brings their browser a bit closer to rival Chrome which had its first 64bit version released back in 2014.

While 64bit support us undoubtedly the biggest feature to come with Version 43, the new version does come with a big drawback. As part of the transition from the supposedly insecure and unstable NPAPI, 64bit Firefox won’t support any plug-ins just yet. Silverlight and ironically, Flash are still supported for now. Even with all the problems with Flash, Mozilla still knows Flash is needed everywhere for now.

This release marks the end of cycle of cancelled and rebooted attempts to get 64bit support. With this, the next major change will be the release of Electrolysis, where it will adapt the multi-process nature that Chrome has been using for ages. Whether or not this will be enough for the browser to shore up flagging usage remains to be seen.

Download the latest version of Firefox here.

Mozilla to Remove Ads From Firefox (Eventually)

Over the last year, Mozilla has been experimenting with integrating ads into its popular browser, Firefox, in an attempt to integrate them into the tiles on new tab page (and presumably earn more revenue). But now, Mozilla’s VP of content services, Darren Herman has released a blog post revealing plans for the advancement of content in Firefox, and this future will no longer include ads.

According to Herman, the decision to move away from providing advertisement is the result of a learning process within the Content Services Team, about what users want from their products and the web. Users wish to experience content that is “relevant, exciting and engaging” and the removal of ads will both allow the space to be used to provide such content, as well as letting the team focus on getting the new systems for content discovery right. This may not be the end of advertisement in Firefox for good, however, with Herman feeling that “Advertising in Firefox could be a great business, but it isn’t the right business for us at this time”.

The ads won’t be gone immediately either, as Mozilla will still honour their commitments and obligations to their existing advertisement partners, with the presence of ads winding down over the coming months.

Mozilla Describe Thunderbird Client as “a Tax” on FireFox Development

Mozilla’s Thunderbird e-mail client is often overlooked and hasn’t received any major updates since 2012. Nevertheless, I still find it quite useful and think it’s a pretty good piece of software to organize multiple e-mail accounts. Clearly, Mozilla is right to focus on Firefox development as a large quantity of people view their e-mails on mobile devices or through a web browser. While Mozilla has ceased active development of Thunderbird it still appears to be having a detrimental effect. For example, Mozilla’s chairperson, Mitchell Baker said in a memo published on the company’s public governance forum:

“Many inside of Mozilla, including an overwhelming majority of our leadership, feel the need to be laser-focused on activities like Firefox that can have an industry-wide impact. With all due respect to Thunderbird and the Thunderbird community, we have been clear for years that we do not view Thunderbird as having this sort of potential.” 

“Given this, it’s clear to me that sooner or later paying a tax to support Thunderbird will not make sense as a policy for Mozilla.”

“The current setting isn’t stable, and we should start actively looking into how we can transition in an orderly way to a future where Thunderbird and Firefox are un-coupled.”

Baker’s comments here suggest that any resources or support going into the Thunderbird project will end fairly soon. From the wording, it’s clear they don’t want to just abandon it and looking for other alternative strategies. It makes sense to focus on Firefox especially with the huge competition from Google and Microsoft. To put this into perspective, I personally use Thunderbird to manage one personal and two business e-mails. I would be sad to see it go as it’s easy to use, and quite functional.

Mozilla Launches Firefox For iOS

Mozilla’s hesitance to offer their Firefox web browser on iOS devices stems from a bitter disagreement with Apple in 2013. During this period, Apple imposed hefty restrictions which prohibited Mozilla, and other browser makers to use their own rendering engine. As you might expect, Mozilla was outraged by these demands and believed they were completely unfair. However, with the soaring popularity of iOS, Mozilla has changed their approach and accepted Apple’s terms.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoAtBKmNUEY

Firefox is now available on iOS devices and incorporates a number of useful features including Intelligent Search, and Virtual Tabs. Firefox Accounts also allows you to easily sync passwords, internet history, and auto-complete forms on various systems. Private Browsing is another essential component which provides enhanced protection against data snooping. User privacy is such an important aspect of any modern browser and at the heart of Firefox’s ethos.

Unfortunately, I highly doubt the browser will make any serious impact on iOS as most people just use Safari. There are some exceptions who prefer Chrome, but I can see Firefox’s adoption being in the minority. Nevertheless, it’s a great piece of news if you prefer the Firefox desktop browser and want to continue that experience on an Apple device.

Which browser is your favourite and why?

Mozilla Releases Firefox 41 Containing Integrated IM Functionality

Mozilla has officially unveiled the latest version of Firefox which incorporates an intriguing messaging service called, ‘Hello Beta’. According to Mozilla, this is the world’s first communication tool embedded into a browser which allows users to send and receive messages during a video call. The company said about this latest venture:

“Firefox Hello Beta, developed with our partner Telefónica, is the global communications system built directly into a browser and it will now let you send and receive instant messages when you’re in a video call in Firefox for Windows, Mac and Linux.”

While this might be true, I’m fairly certain other browsers have implemented something similar a long time ago. Also, many users might feel that this could make Firefox take up more system resources and become rather bloated. It’s certainly an interesting addition, but I highly doubt many people are going to use it for an extended period. There has been some confusion regarding this announcement and to clarify, this only works during video calls.

Ideally, I’d love to see Firefox adopt a simple layout without unnecessary features and optimizing RAM usage to make for the most efficient browser out there.

Which browser do you use?

Firefox 41 for Windows, Mac, Linux is now available for download and we’ve included a direct hyperlink for your convenience.

Mozilla Deploys Built-in Firefox Ads

Mozilla has implemented its long-proposed but negatively-received Suggested Tiles feature within Firefox, which effectively inserts Mozilla-approved ads into the browser. First vaunted back in February 2014, Suggested Tiles was put on hold after a negative reaction from Firefox users. Instead of putting the idea to bed, though, Mozilla has quietly deployed it with as little fanfare as possible, presumably hoping users don’t notice.

Mozilla revealed in May 2015 that it hadn’t entirely binned the proposal, with Darren Herman, Mozilla’s VP of Content Services, saying, “Suggested Tiles represents an important step for us to improve the state of digital advertising.”

Suggested Tiles, which has been rolled out to Firefox browsers for the past few weeks, not only shows sponsored links, it tracks user interaction with the browser, sending that raw data to its Disxo analysis engine, which is then converted into a high-level aggregate report that it sends to advertisers. Mozilla claims that is not getting paid for featuring the ads.

“Since early August,” Herman went on to explain, “we have been delivering promoted content provided by our first wave of partners including Yahoo, a number of top tier news titles including Fortune Magazine and Quartz, and mission-oriented partners such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.”

“With Suggested Tiles, we want to show the world that it is possible to do relevant advertising and content recommendations while still respecting users’ privacy and giving them control over their data,” he added.

According to Mozilla, Suggested Tiles records and stores the following user data:

  • Language preference
  • Tile ID
  • How many times the Tile was displayed
  • Where in the grid of tiles a Tile was displayed
  • What interaction the user has with a Tile:
  • “Rolled over”
  • “Hovered over”
  • Pinned
  • Blocked
  • Clicked
  • Moved

“This data is associated with an IP address and is stored for a maximum of seven days, while Mozilla reports on the performance of the Tile. Then the IP address is removed from the data which is then archived. Mozilla does not create a profile of an individual over time,” a Mozilla representative said.

Will this move scare away the remaining Firefox users, or put off people considering migrating to Firefox?

Thank you ZDNet for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

Data from Hacked Bug Database used to Target Firefox Users

Using data and information obtained through another hack, hackers were able to target Mozilla Firefox users through vulnerabilities in the popular browser. What is most interesting about this whole debacle, however, was that the attackers first hacked Bugzilla, Mozilla’s bug and vulnerability tracking system to find working exploits.

Bug trackers and vulnerability databases serve important roles in maintaining secure software. As researchers and whitehats find and discover bugs and vulnerabilities, they report it to either a third party or directly to the vendor. In this case, it was through Bugzilla to Mozilla. This allows a common platform to share the information required to demonstrate and fix the bug. Even if there is no outside facing infrastructure to report bugs, more developers probably have their own internal system for keeping up with, detailing and cataloguing bugs. For widely popular software, an attacker may not need to spend time researching their own zer0-days. Instead, they can simply hit one of these bug repositories and grab a whole host of vulnerabilities and use them as needed before they are patched.

In this case, Bugzilla got hit via as a privileged user account had the same password for Bugzilla as on another site that got hacked. Due to this, attackers were able to break into Bugzilla undetected for at least a year. They managed to get away with 185 non-public vulnerabilities of which 10 were unpatched at the time. Given how many users tend not to patch, and that Mozilla is unsure when the attackers first got in, it’s possible many users were vulnerable. In fact, one of the vulnerabilities was exploited widely for a while. In response, Mozilla is implementing steps to shore up security by things like restricting access and two-factor authentication.

Once again, it shows that security can be pretty hard and even systems introduced to better protect users can severely backfire. Given the wealth of information stored within bug repositories on various vulnerabilities, they can become a juicy target for blackhats. Just like major retailers and  the recent US government data breaches, the sensitive information means these systems are guaranteed to be attacked at some point. Another major lesson is that if you want good security, not reusing passwords, keeping patched and using two-factor authentication is key.

Firefox On iOS? There’s A Catch With That!

Mozilla Firefox have deployed new ways of attracting a bigger share of the browser-based market, now, users of iPhones and iPads who would like an alternative to their current mobile browsers might have found one, as Mozilla is going to begin rolling out the first public preview version of the popular and well-recognised browser for iOS. Sounds good, slight problem with that, you may need your passport.

Mozilla is aiming to garner public opinion and feedback in order to develop the software for the Apple platform, ready to immediately test drive the software? Good, I take it you do reside in New Zealand. Yep, Firefox in their blog post have stated that “we will be collecting feedback in one country, before we extend availability to get feedback in a few more countries prior to a full public launch” Did Mozilla throw a dart to determine which country would receive the preview first?

So, what features will the good folks in New Zealand have available to them? The preview release features include,

  • Intelligent Search – Which provides suggested search results and the choice of search providers
  • Firefox accounts – take your Firefox browser history, passwords and tabs from your desktop to your iOS devices.
  • Tabs – Visual Tabs, an intuitive way to keep track of your open tabs

If you’re a Kiwi and would like Firefox on iOS, then by all means test the first preview, if you’re not a Kiwi but would like to try the software, you will have to wait until Mozilla throws another dart to decide the next country to be rewarded with the version.

Thank you mozilla blog for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of wmpoweruser

Amazon, Netflix, Google, and Microsoft to Create Next-Gen Video Format

The Alliance for Open Media, comprised of Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla and Netflix, has been formed in an effort to create the next-generation of royalty-free video formats, codecs, and related technologies. Though there is no mention of it in the official announcement, the enterprise seems designed to bypass paying MPEG LA royalties.

According to the press release from the Alliance for Open Media:

The Alliance’s initial focus is to deliver a next-generation video format that is:

  • Interoperable and open;
  • Optimized for the web;
  • Scalable to any modern device at any bandwidth;
  • Designed with a low computational footprint and optimized for hardware;
  • Capable of consistent, highest-quality, real-time video delivery; and
  • Flexible for both commercial and non-commercial content, including user-generated content.

This initial project will create a new, open royalty-free video codec specification based on the contributions of members, along with binding specifications for media format, content encryption and adaptive streaming, thereby creating opportunities for next-generation media experiences.

“Customer expectations for media delivery continue to grow, and fulfilling their expectations requires the concerted energy of the entire ecosystem,” Gabe Frost, Executive Director for the Alliance for Open Media, said. “The Alliance for Open Media brings together the leading experts in the entire video stack to work together in pursuit of open, royalty-free and interoperable solutions for the next generation of video delivery.”

The endeavour will allow Mozilla, Cisco, and Google, which are already working on royalty-free video formats independently – Daala, Thor, and VP9/VP10, respectively – to combine its research and development work thus far.

Thank you Alliance for Open Media for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

Mozilla Set to Fire Employee Responsible for Hate Speech on Reddit

Mozilla’s CEO has vowed to fire an employee who was suspected of engaging in a vitriolic tirade on Reddit. The person in question used the alias, aoiyama and expressed joyous glee from the recent departure of Mozilla’s community organizer, Christie Koehler, and said:

“Everyone was glad to see the back of her”

“When she and the rest of her blue-haired, nose-pierced ***hole feminists are gone, the tech industry will breathe a sigh of relief.”

From a PR perspective, this was a disaster as the Reddit user is a Mozilla representative and could give an overall impression of their views on gender diversity in technology. Of course, Mozilla need to take firm, authoritative action and try to project a public image of enticing women into the technology sector. I think this proves once again to use caution when ranting on a public website and step away from the keyboard in moments of anger. Respect each other and the internet will become a more harmonious place.

Mozilla’s official response to the incident is as follows:

“It’s been brought to our attention that there’s been anonymous postings to Reddit under the handle aoiyama that crossed a line from criticism to hate speech. There’s a lot to suggest that they’re a Mozillian [an employee]. Specifically, when I’m talking about crossing the line from criticism to hate speech, I’m talking about when you start saying that ‘someone’s kind doesn’t belong here and we’ll all be happy when they’re gone.’ If that’s not hate speech, it’s pretty damn close and we’re not going to walk that line as Mozilla. So if, and when, we identify who this person is and if they are an employee, they will be fired. Either way, they are not welcome to continue to participate in the Mozilla project, so if you cross that line, I’m asking you now: please leave, because you’re not welcome.”

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Firefox Set to Become More Like Chrome

Mozilla is set to implement a number of changes to its Firefox internet browser that will make it more like Google Chrome. Though the revisions will make Firefox more secure and stable, as well as making Chrome apps, extensions, and add-ons available for the browser, it will strip away many of the customisable features and increase its memory demands, no doubt infuriating long-term Firefox users in the process.

According to a Mozilla blog post today, Firefox will adopt the WebExtensions API, which will make it easier for developers to create apps that are compatible with Firefox, Chrome, and Opera, while also integrating Electrolysis to handle background content processing and the Rust-coded Servo technology.

Regarding the scope of the changes, Mozilla writes:

The strategy announced here necessarily involves a lot of trade-offs. Developers who already support Chrome extensions will benefit since they will have one codebase to support instead of two. Developers of Firefox-only add-ons will have to make changes. Those changes may require considerable development effort up-front, but we feel the end result will be worth that effort for both Firefox’s users and developers.

Firefox isn’t the first browser to lose its identity. The Opera browser, though far from popular, was well-respected for its speed and advanced user features. In 2013, however, Opera ditched its Presto engine in favour of Chromium, becoming little more than a stripped-down Chrome clone in the process.

A preview release of WebExtensions is included with Firefox 42, with a full roll-out set to occur in the near future.

Thank you Mozilla for providing us with this information.

Mozilla Firefox 40 Released

Firefox’s existence has been somewhat rocky over the past few years, from the browser market becoming more competitive with the increased competition from Google Chrome to Microsoft’s new Edge browser, to the irritated reaction from Mozilla’s CEO who has rallied against Windows 10 over how consumers select a default browser.

So what does the latest incarnation of Firefox have in store for consumers? Well, Firefox 40 is out today (11th August 2015) which sees mostly under the hood improvements. These include enhanced compatibility with Windows 10, although previous versions do work with the new OS, this is more moving the browser in line with touchscreen devices and includes “close” buttons on tabs which are now bigger and the address bar also has bigger fonts. It has also revised tabstrips and toolbars plus a custom Windows 10 theme.

Other key changes include an improved and expanded malware detection feature in Firefox, which is able to identify malware downloads in all supported platforms as well as warn users about potentially unwanted software. Users can also receive suggested titles in the new tab page based on categories Firefox matches to browsing history. Improved scrolling, graphics, and video playback performance with off main thread compositing (GNU/Linux only) and a Graphic blocklist mechanism improved: Firefox version ranges can also be specified, limiting the number of devices blocked, and smoother animation and scrolling with hardware vsync (Windows only)

Warnings for unsigned extensions will be displayed and they’ll be blocked completely in Firefox 41

As for security, the below image illustrates what has been fixed in Firefox 40,

This update will be rolled out within the next day or so within the standard methods, Firefox might also need to revise the new version naming, otherwise it won’t be long before we reach Firefox 100 and above.

Thank You Firefox Notes for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Fanpop

Hackers Find Serious 0day Vulnerability in Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla got word this Wednesday that a severe Firefox 0day vulnerability was being exploited by an ad on a Russian website. Although the company was swift in delivering a fix, they are now urging users to check that they are running version 39.0.3 or later to prevent hackers from gaining access to their sensitive data.

It looks like the vulnerability affected a non-privileged part of Firefox’s built-in PDF viewer, where hackers were able to inject JavaScript files. Since they are in the same origin policy as the local browser, hackers could then have the script search and upload data to a server located in Ukraine, as sources indicate.

Security specialists found that the exploit mainly targeted developer-focused content, though it was released to the general audience. However, the attack seems pretty neat because you can have a large number of audience on the website, but have data transferred from browsers with significant relevance. The guys looking into the hack found that it did not leave traces of it behind, which means that even experienced users may be unaware if they have been the victim of a hack or not.

Though the hack affected only Windows and Linux systems, Mac users should also be on guard, since the hack can also be modified to target Macintosh OS’ too.

Thank you Sci-Tech Today for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Mozilla CEO Furious Over Windows 10

Even with the addition of the wonderful, stripped-down, and super-quick Edge browser, many Windows 10 users will still prefer to stick to their usual default internet browser, whether that’s Chrome, Opera, or Firefox. While that is still possible with Microsoft’s new operating system, users who have upgraded to Windows 10 will find that their previous default will revert to Edge automatically. A couple of button clicks allow you to change back, so no drama. Unless your name is Chris Beard and you happen to be the CEO of Mozilla, creator of the Firefox browser, that is.

The world is full of open letters, and that is exactly the medium that Beard has chosen to express his ire that users’ choice of browser is being ignored, and that Microsoft should cease imposing Edge by default for future upgraders.

Addressing his open letter directly to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Beard says:

“I am writing to you about a very disturbing aspect of Windows 10. Specifically, that the update experience appears to have been designed to throw away the choice your customers have made about the Internet experience they want, and replace it with the Internet experience Microsoft wants them to have.

When we first saw the Windows 10 upgrade experience that strips users of their choice by effectively overriding existing user preferences for the Web browser and other apps, we reached out to your team to discuss this issue. Unfortunately, it didn’t result in any meaningful progress, hence this letter.”

Since the “problem” is easily correctable, this open letter seems less about challenging a great injustice and more about getting Firefox’s name in the press on the back of the Windows 10 wave. And I’ve just helped him. You’re welcome, Chris.

Thank you The Mozilla Blog for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Mozilla.

Google Chrome Starts Blocking Torrent Sites

Since yesterday, Google’s Chrome browser has begun blocking torrent websites, including Torrentz, ExtraTorent, RARBG, and the popular KickAss Torrents, flagging them as containing “harmful programs”.

When users attempt to visit the URL, a red banner bars access, warning that “The site ahead contains harmful programs,” and that “Attackers on [URL] might attempt to trick you into installing programs that harm your browsing experience (for example, by changing your homepage or showing extra ads on sites you visit).”

The owners of the websites have no idea why they have been flagged, other than the suspicion that the controversial sites have been deliberately censored, a number of which have spoken to TorrentFreak. RARBG’s operator told the site, “I hope Google comes to its senses and actually allows webmasters to see what the issue is in their webmasters tools.”

The team from ExtraTorrent were equally confused, saying, “There is no malicious software and you are still able to load ExtraTorrent in Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Chromium and other browsers. We’ll contact Google to resolve the issue shortly.”

Chrome users that wish to bypass the message when accessing torrent sites can disable the browser’s malware warnings.

Google has refused to comment, instead directing queries to a recent blog post.

Recent reports suggest that a similar restriction of access to torrent sites has started to occur with Mozilla’s Firefox browser, too.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

Mozilla Protests Against France’s New Mass Surveillance Law

In a post on its blog, Mozilla has expressed its deep concern over the French National Assembly’s Projet de Loi Relatif au Renseignement, a new law which legitimises mass surveillance though the installation of “black boxes” among telecommunications operators devices. Mozilla, developer of the Firefox internet browser, says that “the bill threatens the integrity of Internet infrastructure, user privacy, and data security.”

According to the blog post, the surveillance bill authorises French intelligence services to:

  • Pervasively monitor and store user communications, metadata, and Web activity about all users in France and abroad;
  • Force Internet service providers (and potentially other technology companies) to install “black boxes” in their networks to collect massive amounts of data and use algorithms to search for “suspicious patterns”;
  • Intercept user communications, including reading emails and tapping phones, without meaningful due process or oversight; and
  • compromise Internet infrastructure in France and extraterritorially.

The bill came as a surprise to many, since France was one of the founding members of was a founding member of the Freedom Online Coalition, which was designed to stand against infringement on internet users’ rights, something that this surveillance bill spits upon.

Mozilla ends its blog post by saying, “we call on France, as an international leader in upholding human rights around the world, to set a positive example for other governments rather than continuing on a course of eroding protections for users and undermining the open Internet.”

Image courtesy of FreeVector.

Firefox Users Can Now Stream Netflix Without a Plugin

Firefox users will no longer be required to download the Microsoft Silverlight plugin if they are wanting to watch Netflix through their browsers. The newest version of Firefox integrates Adobe Content Decryption Module (CDM), which is needed to stream from Netflix on HTML 5.

For a long time now Mozilla has been anti-DRM due to their open-source philosophy, but it seems now they are bending to the demand of users by including the Adobe Content Decryption Module. They haven’t forgotten their roots though as they also have a non-CDM version of Firefox that users can download if they don’t want any additional DRM in their browsers. This may help Firefox gain some users since there are so many who currently stream Netflix through their browsers. It seems like they are wanting to capitalize on part of that user base that wants to move away from Chrome or another browser. There are millions of Netflix users around the world with more customers joining every day so even gaining a small percentage would help grow the Firefox user base.

Now the only problem for users with Netflix is what to watch and how long they will have to wait for the second season of Daredevil to drop so they can binge watch it in one sitting.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Firefox OS Phone Lands in Africa

Firefox OS smartphones went on sale in Senegal and Madagascar. Klif, first Firefox OS device is exclusive to French telecom operator Orange. The Alcatel Onetouch’s device is extremely budget friendly low-end sports 3G+ with connectivity speeds of up to 21 Mbps, 3.5″ HVGA display, Dual Core MediaTek CPU coupled with 512MB RAM and 2MP camera powered by 1400 mAh battery. It is by no means contender to Android and Apple’s Flagship. It runs highly optimised Firefox OS aimed for seamless web browsing experiences.

“We are pleased to partner with Orange to bring the mobile Web to users in a substantial number of new growth markets across Africa and the Middle East, I am also thrilled to see how the imminent arrival of Firefox OS has created excitement in the local Mozilla communities.” said Mozilla CTO, Andreas Gal.

They are trying to get devices in the hands of people who’ve never owned any type of smartphone. The main idea with this 3G smartphone is to get more people online in places where they previously couldn’t. After the announcement from Mozilla and Orange back in Mobile World Conference 2015 in February, Africa is their main focus. It makes strong sense to make affordable devices available in markets like Africa where the potential is huge and could bring significant growth.

Thank you Mozilla for providing us with information.

Firefox 37 to Encrypt Non-HTTPS Traffic

Mozilla is making great strides towards making user experience as secure as possible, and with the release of Firefox 37 it brings HTTP encryption, without a need for HTTPS, the standard security layer for communications protocol encryption.

The latest iteration of Firefox achieves this thanks to what is known as opportunistic encryption. To achieve this, Firefox will route port 80 requests not sent in cleartext to a port that the server administrator can choose, so long as the server supports HTTP/2 protocol and specify the AltSvc header.

It’s not the most secure method of encrypting data, since it can still be vulnerable to targeted attacks, but it is certainly better than nothing, and is safe enough for everyday internet browsing.

Other additions to Firefox 37 include HTML5 playback and WebGL rendering improvements, using HTTPS for Bing searches, and strengthened protection against site impersonation via OneCRL centralised certificate revocation.

Source: FavBrowser

Google Targets Firefox Users with Special Warnings

Mozilla users will soon see a new message in Google’s search engine urging them to switch their default search engine to Google. Users can also choose to ignore the message and hide it until clearing the browser’s cache by pressing the “No, Thanks” button.

This comes as a result of Mozilla changing its default search engine to Yahoo! in November 2014. Default search contracts are the main route to monetizing third-party browsers. Search providers like Google and Yahoo pay browser-makers tens, or even hundreds of millions of dollars for the unique access, as it is a major driver of search traffic from modern browsers.

Firefox has been working with Google as its default search engine since 2004, but the recent change terminated the long partnership with the top web search engine. Google’s new popups make it clear that the company isn’t happy with the shift and it’s also clear that it considers Firefox search traffic a primary target. Firefox is the third most-used personal computer browser after Google’s Chrome browser and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

Thank you Daily Tech for providing us with this information

First 64-bit Firefox Build Released

Mozilla has joined the 64-bit browsing party with Firefox for Windows, but only in the Developer Edition for now; it’s a start right?

The Developer Edition is a special version of Firefox with built-in tools for creating websites and web apps. While OS X and Linux already have a 64-bit version, Mozilla is just adding a Windows build with 64-bit support now.The main advantage of 64-bit browsing is the ability to address more than 4 GB of RAM, allowing for beefier web apps. As an example, Mozilla points to games that run on Epic’s Unreal Engine, noting that a 64-bit browser can store significantly more assets in memory. “For some of the largest of these apps, a 64-bit browser means the difference between whether or not a game will run,” Mozilla wrote in a blog post.

Beyond the additional memory, Mozilla says the 64-bit browser is simply faster, speeding up JavaScript code through new hardware registers and instructions that aren’t available with the 32-bit version. In one test of certain JavaScript applications, throughput improved by 8% to 17%. It’s unclear when 64-bit browsing will make its way to the main version of Firefox for Windows. But given that the Developer Edition is on version number 38, and the stable version is on 36, a mainstream release is probably a few months out. If you’re running the Developer Edition now and want to switch to 64-bit, Mozilla recommends uninstalling the Win32 without deleting your profile, and then downloading the 64-bit version.

Thanks to PCworld.com for this information

Firefox OS Set to Enter the US and Other Developed Markets in 2016

Mozilla has developed its Firefox OS in order to target low-cost smartphone markets all around the world. Its recent statement claims that the company is considering to enter more developed markets next year.

Mozilla has stated a project with US, Japanese, South Korean and Spanish carriers to get ready for shipping high-spec smartphones starting from 2016 onwards. However, the more developed markets for smartphones are currently owned and heavily competed by Apple, Android and Windows Phone. But Mozilla seems to be taking a rather strange and out of fashion approach.

Flip phones and sliders would be the main attraction and key feature of these new Firefox OS phones, as stated by Andreas Gal, chief technology officer at Mozilla. He stated that customers like the older form factors of mobile phones and this is the main cause of why they are stuck with older operating systems.

“Development of feature phones has essentially stopped, said Gal. “This project will bring a modern smartphone OS into this market.”

The project has been announced on Sunday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, pointing out that Verizon Wireless, KDDI, LG uPlus and Telefonica will be the first carriers to start shipping these new smartphones next year.

Thank you Computer World for providing us with this information

Firefox Aims to Replace Flash Plugin Altogether with Shumway

Mozilla’s newest project for the Firefox browser will make the need to use the Flash plugin obsolete. The project is called Shumway and is already integrated into Firefox Nightly. It has the purpose of making web browsing more secure as well as faster through the elimination of the Flash plugin altogether.

Flash is probably the most attacked piece of software out there and we’ve seen one severe security hole after another. Recently, Google made HTML5 the default on YouTube and Chrome only uses Flash as a last resort itself. Mozilla is now following this, but with a slightly different approach.

The Shumway project renders flash content, but without the use of the bug-riddled Flash plugin. The project is still relative new and right now the feature only works on Amazon’s Product Tour section, but future updates will bring support for more websites. It works on Windows Vista, 7, and 8.1, as well as on Mac’s OS X. Windows XP and Linux users could also get it up and running, but a H.264 video decoder is needed.

Thanks to Softpedia for providing us with this information

Transparent Firefox Phone Set for Christmas Day Release in Japan

Mozilla and Japanese mobile operator KDDI is releasing an impressive-looking transparent smartphone, the Fx0, carrying the Firefox OS, on Christmas Day in Japan.

Though the specs are unremarkable – it has a 4.7-inch display, a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor and a 2,370 mAh battery – it boasts a unique and attractive design. It’s the first Firefox phone to feature 4G LTE and near-field communication (NFC).

The transparent phone, designed by Tokujin Yoshioka, is intended to represent the “openness, freedom and transparency” Mozilla wants to propagate. The Fx0 will cost 50,000 yen ($420). There is no word yet on whether the handset will be made available internationally.

Source: Mashable