Rights & Money

Firefox’s New Web Browser Protects Your Privacy

The world’s second-most popular web browser has been updated and now boasts user-friendly security and privacy features

By Matt Smith

You’re online every day, but when was the last time that you seriously thought about what program you’re using to get there? There’s a good chance you’re reading this in Google Chrome, which is currently the world’s most popular web browser. Mozilla—the company behind Firefox—wants to change that. Late last year, the company released a revamped version of its browser called Firefox Quantum, having added some powerful security features.

Both Firefox and Chrome support extensions—programs that run within them to improve the user experience. Popular examples include ad blockers and add-ons that prevent websites from gathering personal data. The updated Firefox comes with some of these baked into the software.

A major feature is tracking protection. When you browse the web, the sites you visit collect tiny bits of information on you, which is why ads for the products you’ve searched for seem to follow you around the Internet. Turning on Tracking Protection from the Privacy and Security pane of Quantum’s Preferences menu will prevent this, limiting the amount of personal data that’s shared with marketers.

One of the most notorious companies for this is Facebook, which can track your activity even outside of the social network’s own website. To combat this, the new Firefox has an extension called Facebook Container. This allows you to isolate your Facebook browsing to its own tab, preventing the social network from gathering data from other websites.

Mozilla claims that Firefox uses less memory and is faster than the competition, although in practise, differences in browser speeds are slight. Nonetheless, Firefox works every bit as smoothly as Google Chrome, making it a worthy competitor. Because their performance is so similar, the choice of which browser you use remains a largely personal one. However, for people who don’t want to have to jump through too many hoops to ensure their privacy and security online, Firefox makes a good case for itself.

Photo: iStock/JasonDoiy.