Firefox 52 will be the last browser update for Windows XP and Windows Vista but apart from that the latest update from Firefox comes with some mention worthy features, especially on the security and the privacy front. The Firefox 52 will come with a system that prevents websites from fingerprinting users by using system fonts.
The new feature is not something out of the box but in fact has been borrowed by the Tor Browser. The mechanism will block websites from identifying the users by checking out the fonts installed on their computers. This system stores the font sets installed in the computer and matches against the database every time the user accesses their website.
The feature will be added in the stable version of Firefox 52 which is scheduled to be released on March 7. That said, Font Fingerprint Protection is already active in Firefox 52 Beta.
As we explained earlier the font protecting tool works in line with the one employed by the Tor browser. The Firefox 52 will make use of a whitelist of system fonts for every operating system and instead of blocking queries for system fonts Firefox will answer in the same way for all fonts.
What this does is that it makes it indistinguishable for the website to recognize the user on the basis of the fonts, says Mozilla. Usually, the font fingerprinting is done by website operators deploying Flash or JS scripts that query the user’s browsers in order to fetch a list of locally installed fonts.
Advertisers stitch together the list of local fonts, user details and then create a unique fingerprint ID for each user. As one might have already guessed the details are used like a human fingerprint to authenticate in the background and then used to deliver targeted ads and also track the movements of the users on the world wide web.
- Tags: Firefox