Feeds

Firefox 14 tabs no longer sneak a peek at users' privates

Cache me if you can

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Mozilla has plugged a privacy-related security hole in Firefox 13 and released a fixed version of its web browser. The flaw allowed the software's speed-dial-alike "new tab" feature to take snapshots of supposedly secure HTTPS sessions.

Punters sounded the alarm over the feature that, for example, revealed online bank account details or private messages in webmail sessions to the next user of a shared PC. Mozilla quickly acknowledged the behaviour was undesirable and issued a workaround and privacy advice in early June.

The browser maker bundled in a more comprehensive fix with Firefox 14, which stops the caching of content from sensitive websites, as a statement by Mozilla explained:

The new tab feature that displays thumbnails of your favorite and recently visited sites in Firefox now omits privacy-sensitive websites like banking or webmail sites. The new tab thumbnails are based on your browsing history and you can easily control the experience by moving or deleting the thumbnails.

Firefox 14, released on 17 July, automatically encrypts web searches through Google, while leaving the back porch accessible to advertisers, as explained in our earlier story here.

Firefox 14 also changes the way the globe icon (to the left of the URL in the address bar) works. The icon remains a globe when the browser accesses a site that is unencrypted, but becomes a a grey padlock icon if a site uses SSL encryption. If a site is secure with the added benefit of an EV (extended validation) certificate, the browser flashes up a green padlock icon and includes the name of the site's owner. These changes are also designed to make spoofing harder, as Mozilla explains here.

Firefox 14 also introduces other features and performance tweaks (listed here) as well as fixing various security bugs, five of which Mozilla lists as critical.

The "new tab" page introduced alongside Firefox 13 is comparable to the Speed Dial feature already present in other browsers displaying cached copies of a user's most visited websites. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM
Gigya redirect exploit blamed for pop-rageous ploy
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.