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What’s in the latest Firefox upgrade? Firefox 78 starts ESR transition for enterprises


Mozilla last week upgraded Firefox to version 78, patching a baker’s dozen of security flaws and starting the annual process of retiring last year’s Extended Support Release (ESR) and offering customers the latest enterprise-designed build.

Company engineers patched 13 vulnerabilities, seven labeled “High,” Firefox’s second-most-serious label. Unlike most Firefox refreshes, version 78 did not fix any bugs marked “Critical.”

Firefox 78 can be downloaded for Windows, macOS and Linux from Mozilla’s site. Because Firefox updates in the background, most users can simply relaunch the browser to get the latest version. To manually update on Windows, pull up the menu under the three horizontal bars at the upper right, then click the help icon (the question mark within a circle). Choose “About Firefox.” (On macOS, “About Firefox” can be found under the “Firefox” menu.) The resulting page shows that the browser is either up to date or describes the refresh process.

A day after Firefox 78’s debut, Mozilla updated the browser again to fix “an issue which could cause installed search engines to not be visible when upgrading from a previous release.”

Mozilla upgrades Firefox every four weeks, a much faster tempo than Google’s Chrome or Microsoft’s Edge. Mozilla last upgraded the browser on June 2.

More information on the privacy dashboard

Some Firefox updates are more notable than others, especially now that Mozilla is on an accelerated every-four-weeks schedule. Firefox 78 is one of the less notable upgrades.

Among the few visible-to-users changes are additions to the “Protections Dashboard,” the new name for the consolidated display of Firefox’s anti-tracking technologies’ results, known data breaches affecting the user and potential password problems. The dashboard carries on the gradual improvements Mozilla’s made to Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection, which put Firefox in the lead last year in comprehensive quashing of the ad- and site-trackers which trace users’ web movements and actions.

The dashboard is a convenience, a slightly improved variation on what the browser has had for several iterations. New items on it show passwords that fell victim to known breaches as well as steps the user has already taken to mitigate said breaches (which may involve changing passwords, putting two-factor authentication into effect and the like).


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