This week, Mozilla announced the release of the latest full update for Mozilla Firefox, which will include a bevvy of new features, including the ability to run individual file downloads against Google’s Safe Browsing repository. The service, which is designed to run files against reputation certificates on a global scale, should prevent illicit email attachments and phishing websites from automatically loading malware onto a user’s computer without their permission.
The function has been available to check suspect URLs since all the way back in version 2.0, but until now that was the full extent of what the service could achieve on a limited basis. With the newest build, Mozilla expects that users of their software will be more secure, and be able to browse more freely without the concern that their OS could be compromised at any given point by unknown attackers.
“Mozilla developers and community identified identified and fixed several memory safety bugs in the browser engine used in Firefox and other Mozilla-based products. Some of these bugs showed evidence of memory corruption under certain circumstances, and we presume that with enough effort at least some of these could be exploited to run arbitrary code.”
With the new security layer installed in version 31, Firefox will run a reputation check on incoming downloads that will send a SHA-256 hash to the Google Safe Browsing Service database, allowing users to feel more secure while they use the program to access all their favorite Internet portals.
Of course, this sort of safety measure is nothing new, with Google’s own browser Chrome relying on a similar set of checks since the company first activated the Safe Browsing algorithm back in 2012.
“Until recently, we only had access to lists of reported malicious web sites, now the Safe Browsing service monitors malicious downloaded files too. The latest version of Firefox (as of July 22) will protect you from more malware by comparing files you download against these lists of malicious files, and blocking them from infecting your system,” Sid Stamm of Mozilla wrote in a blog post.
Although the inclusion of the feature is a huge step forward for Mozilla, even they admit that they will never be able to match the standard that Chrome has set in the same space with the limited code that have at their disposal.
Mozilla also announced that there will be an increased number of malware prevention measures added to run a file’s digital signature before it’s given the all-clear to install on someone’s machine.
Other additions to the lineup for this version include an internal PDF and .ogg viewer, as well as a certificate verification library that far outstretches anything that was available in previous installations.
HTML5 implementations will now be able to handle WEBVTT language, along with the inclusion of embedded subtitles which only used to display in Opera, Safari, and all updates of Internet Explorer beyond 8.
Firefox 31 has launched simultaneously for Windows, Mac, and the Android operating system, with the iOS design still lagging behind the rest on a completely separate, beta based format.