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Firefox 85 removes support for Flash and adds protection against supercookies

Mozilla noted that supercookies are store user identifiers, and are much more difficult to delete and block. Now with Firefox 85, the browser maker has ended support for the Adobe Flash Player plugin and has brought in ways to block supercookies.

twitter-logoIndia Today Tech | January 27, 2021 | Updated 14:49 IST
(Picture: Reuters)

Highlights

  • Mozilla has released Firefox 85 ending support for Adobe Flash Player plugin.
  • Last week Google released Chrome 88 and permanently ended support for Adobe Flash Player.
  • Adobe announced the end of Flash in mid-2017 along with Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla.

Mozilla has released Firefox 85 ending support for Adobe Flash Player plugin and has brought in ways to block supercookies to enhance a user's privacy. Mozilla, in a blog post, noted that supercookies are store user identifiers, and are much more difficult to delete and block. It further noted that the changes it is making through network partitioning in Firefox 85 will "reduce the effectiveness of cache-based supercookies by eliminating a tracker's ability to use them across websites."

"Trackers can abuse caches to create supercookies and can use connection identifiers to track users. But by isolating caches and network connections to the website they were created on, we make them useless for cross-site tracking," Mozilla noted.

It explained that the network partitioning works by splitting the Firefox browser cache on a per-website basis, a technical solution that prevents websites from tracking users as they move across the web. Mozilla also noted that by removing support for Flash, there was not much impact on the page load time. The development was first reported by ZDNet.

"This partitioning applies to all third-party resources embedded on a website, regardless of whether Firefox considers that resource to have loaded from a tracking domain. Our metrics show a very modest impact on page load time: between a 0.09% and 0.75% increase at the 80th percentile and below, and a maximum increase of 1.32% at the 85th percentile," Mozilla noted. These impacts are similar to those reported by the Chrome team for similar cache protections they are planning to roll out. Firefox 85 also brought in new features like saving bookmarks in one location and removing credentials every time users logged in.


Last week Google released Chrome 88 and permanently removed support for Adobe Flash Player. The End of Life date was set as December 31, 2020, a date after which Adobe agreed to stop providing updates for the software. Starting January 12, 2021, Adobe started blocking Flash content for computer users across the world, displaying a warning instead that advises them to uninstall Flash Player.

Firefox has joined Chrome and Edge, both of which removed support for Flash earlier this month with the release of Chrome 88 and Edge 88. Adobe announced the end of Flash in mid-2017 along with Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in 2010 had declared Flash unfit for the iPad and iPhone. Adobe had started recommending all users to immediately uninstall Flash Player to help protect their systems. Apart from Google, other browser makers such as Apple, Mozilla, and Microsoft have also ended or are in the process of ending support for Flash.

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