Firefox 61 Launches: UI, Performance, TLS 1.3 & Much More
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Firefox 61 Launches: UI, Performance, TLS 1.3 & Much More

You can update to Firefox 61 now.

By giving a complete overhaul to its Firefox browser with the launch of Firefox Quantum back in November 2017, Mozilla tried to reestablish Firefox as a dominant force in the browser arena. The rebirth of Firefox was well received due to significant improvements in performance. Continuing with the series of changes in the post-Quantum versions, Mozilla has just released Firefox 61 for all major platforms.

Firefox 61 features some significant changes in terms of its UI, performance, security; and also brings support for the much-awaited TLS 1.3. If you’re a Firefox user, these changes surely won’t go unnoticed.

Let’s have a good look at these changes/features and what they mean for you.

Support for TLS 1.3

Needless to say, TLS 1.3 is the feature that excites us the most as far as Firefox 61 is concerned. TLS 1.3 is the latest version of TLS (Transport Layer Security), the internet security protocol that protects us while browsing. TLS 1.3 was recently approved by IETF, and it’s going to make the internet a much safer place. For that to happen, leading browsers must support TLS 1.3 by default, and that’s exactly what Mozilla has done in Firefox 61.

Firefox 61 comes with “on-by-default support for the latest draft of the TLS 1.3 specification.”

Tab Warming

If you’re one of those users who keep switching between tabs, you’re going to feel the difference—or at least you should. To reduce the tab loading time while switching between tabs, Firefox starts loading a tab as soon as you hover your mouse over it. In technical terms, this is called ‘Tab Warming.’ This feature has been introduced in Windows and Linux.

Parallel CSS Parsing

A significant reason behind Quantum’s blazing fast speed is its super-fast CSS engine. This was achieved by computing CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) in parallel. Now Mozilla wants to go one step beyond by parallelizing the parsing step as well. In Mozilla’s words, Parallel CSS Parsing adds extra horsepower.

FTP Subresource Loads Blocking

Another critical security improvement introduced in Firefox 61 is the blocking of FTP subresource loads. This is pretty important from the security/privacy point of view. FTP, one of the oldest protocols, is highly vulnerable from the security point of view as data transferred through FTP is unencrypted. As a result, there’s a high possibility of data theft or data tampering.

This is what Christoph Kerschbaumer wrote about FTP Subresource in a blog post:

“Firefox 61 will block subresource loads that rely on the insecure FTP protocol unless the document itself is an FTP document. For example, Firefox will block FTP subresource loads within HTTP(S) pages.”

Other Notable Changes

  • Convenient access to more search engines: You can now add search engines to the address bar “Search with” tool from the page action menu when on a webpage that provides an OpenSearch plugin.
  • WebExtensions now run in their own process on MacOS
  • Share links from Firefox for MacOS more easily: You can now share the URL of an active tab from the page actions menu in the address bar
  • A more consistent user experience: Improvements for dark theme support across the entire Firefox user interface
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Author

Jay Thakkar

After graduating from university with an engineering degree, Jay found his true passion as a writer…specifically, a cybersecurity writer. He’s now a Hashed Out staff writer covering encryption, privacy, cybersecurity best practices, and related topics.