All Firefox users, here’s a security alert! It’s not the type of alert you are suspecting – its indeed a good security alert that will do you good 🙂 Yes, Mozilla has released Firefox 87 for Macs, Windows, and Linux machines – introducing a new intelligent tracker blocking mechanism called the SmartBlock feature.
A little bit of flashback – since 2015, Firefox has included a built-in content blocking feature that automatically blocks third-party scripts, images, and other content from being loaded from cross-site tracking companies in Private Browsing windows and Strict Tracking Protection Mode.
But Mozilla soon found that this security feature has a downfall. Because this feature could sometimes block legitimate elements of websites which can cause them to malfunction like images not appearing, features not working, poor performance, or even the entire page not loading at all. Now, coming back to the present – as a remedy to this problem, Mozilla released the SmartBlock feature. In other words, the SmartBlock feature solves this problem by fixing broken web pages without compromising user privacy.
What is SmartBlock feature?
It is a new intelligent tracker blocking mechanism for Firefox Private Browsing and Strict Mode. Basically, the Strict Mode in the Firefox browser prevents various tracking activities from social media trackers, cross-site cookies, cryptominers, fingerprinters, etc. And these trackers on websites usually monitor user activity and collect data, which in turn boosts the ad business. As a way to protect – the browser at times ends up breaking some webpages while attempting to block the trackers. This is where the SmartBlock feature comes into the picture. That is, it tries to prevent the breaking of websites while keeping the trackers behind hurdles.
Mozilla says SmartBlock works by providing local stand-ins for blocked third-party tracking scripts that behave “just enough” like the original ones to make sure the website works properly. Of course, these stand-in scripts won’t track your activity and they are in no way related to a third-party website.
In short, the SmartBlock approach provides the best of both worlds: strong privacy protections in Firefox with no compromise on the web browsing experience.
Here’s how you can enable it
The Firefox tracking protection feature is preloaded into the browser. And works in the background while you’re using Strict Mode or Private Browsing Mode. It automatically kicks-in the moment it detects a website tracker that’s present on the Disconnect Tracking Protection List.
To activate the SmartBlock on your browser, you just have to update your Firefox browser to the latest version. You can simply download the latest Firefox 87 from Mozilla’s official website.
These new protections in Firefox 87 are just the beginning! Mozilla promises more SmartBlock innovations in the upcoming versions of Firefox. Fingers crossed!