Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×
Chrome

Ask Slashdot: Best Browser Extensions -- 2016 Edition 63

Reader LichtSpektren writes: Almost eleven years ago, Slashdot featured an Ask titled "Favorite Firefox Extensions?". I thought it might be worthwhile to ask the question again (Editor's note: we couldn't agree more!), but expand the query to all web browsers now that there's more choices available.

Right now my main browser is Firefox, which I use with uBlock Origin, Disconnect, HTTPS Everywhere, Privacy Badger, NoScript, Self-Destructing Cookies, Decentraleyes, Privacy Settings, and Clean Links. (N.B. the first four of these are also available in Chromium-based browsers.) I use Chrome as a secondary browser, with the first four of the aforementioned extensions, plus also Clear Cache and occasionally Flashcontrol.

This one has nothing to do with security or privacy, but Reedy on Chromium is a really nice tool for speed reading.

What do you use?
Let's get this going.
Programming

Programming Language Gurus Converge on 'Curry On' Conference (curry-on.org) 86

Videos are now online from this week's Curry On conference, which incuded talks by programming pioneers Larry Wall and Matthias Felleisen, as well as speakers from Google, Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, and Oracle. Dave Herman from Mozilla Research also talked about building an open source research lab, while Larry Wall's keynote was titled "It's the End of the World as We Know It, and I Feel Fine."

Billing itself as a non-profit conference about programming languages and emerging computer-industry challenges, this year's installment included talks about Java, Rust, Scala, Perl, Racket, Clojure, Rascal, Go and Oden. Held in a different European city each year, the annual conference hopes to provoke an open conversation between academia and the larger technology industry.
Firefox

Firefox To Block Non-Essential Flash Content In August 2016, Require Click-To-Activate In 2017 (mozilla.org) 156

Mozilla has announced that it plans to discontinue support for Flash in Firefox. Starting next month, Firefox will block Flash content "that is not essential to the user experience." Also, starting sometime in 2017, the browser will require click-to-activate approval from users before a website activates the Flash plugin for any content. In a blogpost, the company writes:Mozilla and the Web as a whole have been taking steps to reduce the need for Flash content in everyday browsing. Over the past few years, Firefox has implemented Web APIs to replace functionality that was formerly provided only by plugins. This includes audio/video playback and streaming capabilities, clipboard integration, fast 2D and 3D graphics, WebSocket networking, and microphone/camera access. As websites have switched from Flash to other web technologies, the plugin crash rate in Firefox has dropped significantly. [...] We continue to work closely with Adobe to deliver the best possible Flash experience for our users.
Windows

Windows 10 Warns Chrome and Firefox Users About Battery Drain, Recommends Switching To Edge (venturebeat.com) 376

A month after Microsoft claimed that its Edge web browser is more power efficient than Google Chrome and Firefox, the company is now warning Windows 10 users about the same. VentureBeat reports: Microsoft has turned on a new set of Windows Tips that warn Windows 10 users that Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox is draining their laptop's battery. The solution, according to the notification, is to use Microsoft Edge.In a statement to the publication, the company said: "These Windows Tips notifications were created to provide people with quick, easy information that can help them enhance their Windows 10 experience, including information that can help users extend battery life. That said, with Windows 10 you can easily choose the default browser and search engine of your choice."
Firefox

Mozilla Will Ship Its First Rust Component In Firefox 48 (softpedia.com) 167

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Softpedia: Mozilla announced today plans to ship its first ever Rust code with the production releases of Firefox. The first ever Rust components will arrive in Firefox 48, scheduled for release on August 2, 2016. After teasing Rust features last year, the Mozilla Foundation announced today that Firefox 48 would contain a new media stack component that's entirely coded in Rust. The first Firefox component to feature Rust code was not chosen at random because media components often execute malicious code when parsing multimedia files. "This makes a memory-safe programming language like Rust a compelling addition to Mozilla's tool-chest for protecting against potentially malicious media content on the Web," says Dave Herman, Director of Strategy at Mozilla Research. During tests of this Rust-based media component in Firefox's unstable builds, Mozilla says that after one billion uses they have yet to see a crash or issue in the Rust media component. Last month, Mozilla released the first versions of Servo, a minimal browser created in Rust code alone. At around the same time, Microsoft open-sourced Checked C, an extension to the C programming language that brings new features to address a series of security-related issues.
Yahoo!

Mozilla Could Walk Away and Still Get More Than $1 Billion If It Doesn't Like Yahoo's Buyer (recode.net) 144

Kara Swisher, reporting for Recode: Under terms of a contract that has been seen by Recode, whoever acquires Yahoo might have to pay Mozilla annual payments of $375 million through 2019 if it does not think the buyer is one it wants to work with and walks away. That's according to a clause in the Silicon Valley giant's official agreement with the browser maker that CEO Marissa Mayer struck in late 2014 to become the default search engine on the well-known Firefox browser in the U.S. Mozilla switched to Yahoo from Google after Mayer offered a much more lucrative deal that included what potential buyers of Yahoo say is an unprecedented term to protect Mozilla in a change-of-control scenario. It was a scenario that Mayer never thought would happen, which is why she apparently pushed through the possibly problematic deal point. According to the change-of-control term, 9.1 in the agreement, Mozilla has the right to leave the partnership if -- under its sole discretion and in a certain time period -- it did not deem the new partner acceptable. And if it did that, even if it struck another search deal, Yahoo is still obligated to pay out annual revenue guarantees of $375 million.
Mozilla

Mozilla Is Building Context Graph, a 'Recommender System For the Web' (venturebeat.com) 87

Mozilla is looking into ways to build a "better forward button" that helps you understand a topic, and find alternative solutions to a problem. On Wednesday, Firefox-maker announced Context Graph, which in addition also allows browsers to offer useful information without demanding input. From a VentureBeat report: Context Graph is a "recommender system for the web" that is supposed to help the company develop an understanding of browser activity at scale. By tapping into what and how people are browsing, Mozilla hopes to unlock "the next generation of web discovery on the internet." Another example is learning how to do something new, like bike repair. Context Graph should be able to help you learn bike repair based on the links others have navigated to when they attempted to learn the same thing. "This should work regardless of whom you're connected to, because your social network shouldn't be a prerequisite for getting the most from the web," Nick Nguyen, Firefox's vice president of product, said.
Mozilla

Mozilla Releases First Build of Servo, Its Next-Generation Browser Engine (venturebeat.com) 131

An anonymous reader writes: As promised, Mozilla has released the first Nightly build of Servo, its new browser engine. This is the first tech demo of Servo, which Jack Moffitt, Servo project lead at Mozilla, described to us a few months ago as "a next-generation browser engine focused on performance and robustness." Packages for macOS and Linux are available to download from here: Servo Developer Preview Downloads. Mozilla promises that Windows and Android packages will be available "soon." And because this is Mozilla, you can check out all the code yourself over on GitHub.
Security

Comodo Attempting to Register 'Let's Encrypt' Trademarks, And That's Not Right (letsencrypt.org) 120

Let's Encrypt is a nonprofit aimed at encrypting the entire web. It provides free certificates, and its service is backed by EFF, Mozilla, Cisco, Akamai and others. Despite it being around for years, security firm Comodo, which as of 2015, was the largest issuer of SSL certificates with a 33.6% market share on 6.6% of all web domains, last year in October filed for the trademark Let's Encrypt. The team at Let's Encrypt wrote in a blog post today that they have asked Comodo to abandon its "Let's Encrypt" applications, directly but it has refused to do so. The blog post adds: We've forged relationships with millions of websites and users under the name Let's Encrypt, furthering our mission to make encryption free, easy, and accessible to everyone. We've also worked hard to build our unique identity within the community and to make that identity a reliable indicator of quality. We take it very seriously when we see the potential for our users to be confused, or worse, the potential for a third party to damage the trust our users have placed in us by intentionally creating such confusion. By attempting to register trademarks for our name, Comodo is actively attempting to do just that. Update: 06/23 22:25 GMT by M :Comodo CEO has addressed the issue on company's forum (screenshot).
Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg Tapes Over His Webcam. Should You? (theguardian.com) 292

Remember when FBI's director James Comey was spotted using a piece of tape over the camera on his laptop? At the time, Comey noted that he started doing it after he saw a person "smarter" than him do it as well. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apparently also puts a tape over his webcam. Zuckerberg posted an image on Facebook yesterday, celebrating Instagram's big milestone of hitting 500 million monthly active users. In the background, we can see that his laptop has a tape over the webcam, as well as something around the microphone port. From a report on The Guardian: Even experts who don't cover their cameras think they should. Why doesn't Matthew Green, an encryption expert at Johns Hopkins University? "Because I'm an idiot," he said. "I have no excuse for not taking this seriously ... but at the end of the day, I figure that seeing me naked would be punishment enough." While Zuckerberg probably does have any number of advanced persistent threats trying to break his digital security, normal people shouldn't be too complacent either. Installing backdoors on compromised computers is a common way for some hackers to occupy their time.On an unrelated note, it appears, Zuckerberg uses Mozilla's Thunderbird as his primary email client.
Firefox

Experimental Firefox Feature Lets You Use Multiple Identities While Surfing the Web (techcrunch.com) 103

Firefox web browser has a new experimental feature that allows a user to segregate their online identities and sign in into multiple mail or social media accounts side-by-side without having to use multiple browsers. From a TechCrunch report: This new "container tab" feature, which is now available in the unstable Nightly Firefox release channel, provides you with four default identities (personal, work, shopping, and banking) with their own stores for cookies, IndexedDB data store, local storage and caches. In practice, this means you can surf Amazon without ads for products you may have looked at following you around the web when you switch over to your work persona. As the Firefox team notes, the idea behind this feature isn't new, but nobody has figured out how to best present this new tool to users.
Privacy

Thousands of Email Addresses Accidentally Disclosed By Let's Encrypt (letsencrypt.org) 81

An anonymous reader writes "Let's Encrypt, the certificate authority best known for offering free SSL/TLS certificates, has reported that it accidentally disclosed thousands of user email addresses due to a bug with an automated emailing system." Executive Director Josh Aas posted this announcement: On June 11 2016 (UTC), we started sending an email to all active subscribers who provided an email address, informing them of an update to our subscriber agreement. This was done via an automated system which contained a bug that mistakenly prepended between 0 and 7,618 other email addresses to the body of the email... The problem was noticed and the system was stopped after 7,618 out of approximately 383,000 emails (1.9%) were sent. Each email mistakenly contained the email addresses from the emails sent prior to it, so earlier emails contained fewer addresses than later ones.

We take our relationship with our users very seriously and apologize for the error... If you received one of these emails we ask that you not post lists of email addresses publicly.

Mozilla

Mozilla Will Fund Code Audits For Open Source Software (helpnetsecurity.com) 39

Reader Orome1 writes: The Mozilla Foundation has set up the Secure Open Source (SOS) Fund, whose aim is to help open source software projects get rid their code of vulnerabilities. Projects that want Mozilla's help must be open source/free software and must be actively maintained, but they have a much better probability to being chosen if their software is commonly used and is vital to the continued functioning of the Internet or the Web. Three open source projects -- PCRE, libjpeg-turbo, and phpMyAdmin -- have already gone through the process, and the result was removal of 43 vulnerabilities (including one critical).
Firefox

Firefox Finally Confirms 'Largest Change Ever' Featuring Electrolysis In v48 (zdnet.com) 187

Firefox is finally getting multi-process support. Mozilla has announced that Electrolysis (e10s) will be available to users starting Firefox 48. The foundation finds it the most significant Firefox change since the browser's inception. From a ZDNet report: With Electrolysis, Firefox can use child processes for content (tabs), media playback and legacy plug-ins. This is some way short of Google Chrome, which uses a different process for each tab. However, the result is that Chrome is a huge resource hog: Chrome uses roughly twice as much memory as Firefox on Windows and Linux. Eric Rahm has run some browser tests with Electrolysis, and says: "Overall we see a 10-20 percent increase in memory usage for the 1 content process case (which is what we plan on shipping initially). This seems like a fair trade-off for potential security and performance benefits." With 8 content processes, Rahm says: "we see roughly a doubling of memory usage on the TabsOpenSettled measurement. It's a bit worse on Windows, a bit better on OS X, but it's not 8 times worse."The aforementioned feature will be available in Firefox 48 Beta shortly.
Firefox

Firefox 47 Arrives With Synced Tabs Sidebar, Better YouTube Playback (venturebeat.com) 129

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Mozilla today launched Firefox 47 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. The browser has gained a sidebar for synced tabs from other devices, improvements to YouTube playback and HTML5 support, and is seeing the end of support for Android Gingerbread. [If you're logged in with your Firefox Account, the sidebar will show all your open tabs from your smartphone and other computers. The sidebar even lets you search for specific tabs. Next, Firefox 47 supports the open source VP9 video codec on machines with powerful multiprocessors. VP9 is the successor to VP8, both of which fall under Google's WebM project of freeing web codecs from royalty constraints.] Firefox 47 is available for download on Firefox.com, and will be slowly released on Google Play. You can view the full Firefox 47 changelog here. If you're a developer, Firefox 47 for developers offers more details for you.
Firefox

Firefox Tops Microsoft Browser Market Share For First Time (arstechnica.com) 141

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: For the first time, Firefox has pulled ahead of Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Edge browsers. Mozilla's Firefox grabbed 15.6 percent of worldwide desktop browser usage in April, according to the latest numbers from Web analytics outfit StatCounter. Google Chrome continues to dominate two thirds of the market. StatCounter, which analyzed data from three million websites, found that Firefox's worldwide desktop browser usage last month was 0.1 percent ahead of the combined share of Internet Explorer and Edge at 15.5 percent. Firefox has reportedly been losing market share over the last three months, but Microsoft's Edge and Internet Explorer browsers appear to be declining faster. Last week, Mozilla launched Test Pilot, a program for trying out experimental Firefox features. They've also been fighting the FBI in court for details about a vulnerability in the Tor Browser hack, which may affect the company since the Tor browser is partially based on the Firefox browser code.
Government

Mozilla Fights FBI In Court For Details On Tor Browser Hack (helpnetsecurity.com) 58

An anonymous reader writes from a report on Help Net Security: Mozilla has asked a Washington State District Court to compel FBI investigators to provide details about a vulnerability in the Tor Browser hack with them, before they share it with the defendant in a lawsuit, so that they could fix it before the knowledge becomes public. The lawsuit in question is against Jay Michaud, a Vancouver (Wa.) teacher that stands accused of accessing and downloading child pornography from a website on the Dark Web. The FBI used a "network investigative technique" (NIT) to discover the IP address and identity of the defendant, which was only possible from a vulnerability in the Tor Browser. Why does Mozilla care to learn about the vulnerability? "The Tor Browser is partially based on our Firefox browser code. Some have speculated, including members of the defense team, that the vulnerability might exist in the portion of the Firefox browser code relied on by the Tor Browser," Denelle Dixon-Thayer, Chief Legal and Business Officer at Mozilla Corporation, explained.
Firefox

Mozilla Launches Test Pilot, A Firefox Add-On For Trying Experimental Features (thenextweb.com) 53

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today launched Test Pilot, a program for trying out experimental Firefox features. To try the new functionality Mozilla is offering for its browser, you have to download a Firefox add-on from testpilot.firefox.com and enable an experiment. The main caveat is that experiments are currently only available in English (though Mozilla promises to add more languages "later this year"). Test Pilot was first introduced for Firefox 3.5, but the new program has been revamped since then, featuring three main components: Activity Stream, Tab Center and Universal Search. Activity Stream is designed to help you navigate your browsing history faster, surfacing your top sites along with highlights from your browsing history and bookmarks. Tab Center displays open tabs vertically along the side of your screen. Mozilla says Universal Search "combines the Awesome Bar history with the Firefox Search drop down menu to give you the best recommendations so you can spend less time sifting through search results and more time enjoying the web."
Security

GCHQ Has Disclosed Over 20 Vulnerabilities This Year (vice.com) 29

Joseph Cox, reporting for Motherboard: Earlier this week, it emerged that a section of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the UK's signal intelligence agency, had disclosed a serious vulnerability in Firefox to Mozilla. Now, GCHQ has said it helped fix nearly two dozen individual vulnerabilities in the past few months, including in highly popular pieces of software like iOS. "So far in 2016 GCHQ/CESG has disclosed more than 20 vulnerabilities across a number of software products," a GCHQ spokesperson told Motherboard in an email. CESG, or the National Technical Authority for Information Assurance, is the information security wing of GCHQ. Those issues include a kernel vulnerability in OS X El Captain v10.11.4, the latest version, that would allow arbitrary code execution, and two in iOS 9.3, one of which would have done largely the same thing, and the other could have let an application launch a denial of service attack.
Microsoft

Microsoft Limits Cortana Search Box In Windows 10 To Bing and Edge Only (venturebeat.com) 361

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Microsoft has announced a big change for how the Cortana search box in Windows 10 will work going forward: all searches will be powered by Bing and all links will open with the Edge browser. This is a server-side change going into effect today. Once it takes effect on your Windows 10 computer, Cortana will no longer be able to serve up results from third-party search providers, like Google or Yahoo, nor take you to a third-party browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Ryan Gavin, Microsoft's general manager of search and Cortana, said in a Windows blog post announcing the change, "Unfortunately, as Windows 10 has grown in adoption and usage, we have seen some software programs circumvent the design of Windows 10 and redirect you to search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana. The result is a compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable. The continuity of these types of task completion scenarios is disrupted if Cortana can't depend on Bing as the search provider and Microsoft Edge as the browser. The only way we can confidently deliver this personalized, end-to-end search experience is through the integration of Cortana, Microsoft Edge and Bing -- all designed to do more for you."

Slashdot Top Deals