Firefox 23 beta introduces better security and sharing

Firefox 23 beta introduces better security and sharing

Summary: Firefox 23 beta is available to download, offering better protection against man-in-the-middle attacks and a new Share button.


The next version of Mozilla Firefox for desktop is available in beta, introducing increased protection against man-in-the-middle attacks and eavesdroppers.

Firefox 23 beta introduces mixed content blocking to reduce the vulnerability of "secure" websites that are served via HTTPS.

When a user visits a page served over HTTPS, their connection with the server is authenticated and content sent between their computer and the server is encrypted via Secure Socket Layer.

This encryption offers protection against people tampering or listening in to the communication. However, if elements of the HTTPS page are sent unencrypted over HTTP, they can be used to intercept information or tamper with the page.

Active content, such as JavaScript or CSS, served over an unencrypted connection can be used to intercept data sent to or alter the secure parts of the page sent via HTTPS.

To help prevent this tampering, Firefox 23's mixed content blocker will block this unencrypted active content on pages where elements are sent via HTTPS.

New social features

The release also sees the introduction of a new Share button, which will let users share content on social networks with one click.

With this release all website owners will also be able to push information to users through Firefox's Social API, which allows sites and networks to be integrated with the browser.

The Social API allows updates from social networks and websites to be displayed in a side panel in the browser, and elsewhere in the UI. The feature was announced last year and offers integration with Facebook and a number of other providers.

Also included in the new release is support for the new scrollbar style in Mac OS X 10.7 and later.

Other improvements allow users to switch to a new search provider across the entire browser and DXVA2 being enabled on Windows Vista+ to accelerate H.264 decoding.

Additional new features for web devs include a network monitor that displays a timeline of network activity on a site and support for the HTML5 range input type, which can be used to create sliders to pick from a range of numbers.

Topics: Web development, Browser


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Just update the UI, greater browser but it looks dated

    Good to see social sharing built in though.
    • The real problem is the bugs

      There are dozens of different UI shells to customize Firefox, so the UI is not the problem. But I'm tired of installing one new version after another and seeing the same bugs unresolved - most notably, the erratic behavior of add-ons (sometimes they will work, sometimes they won't, with no clue as to why), JavaScript pages that don't work (especially forms, buttons, and JS links), the runaway memory usage, and the Firefox process that won't terminate unless killed in Task Manager.

      Firefox 18 was pretty nimble and stable, and I thought the problems had disappeared, but from version 19 onwards, they only got worse again. Firefox is still my default and most used browser, especially because of the great functionality of its add-ons, but I've been forced to use Chrome instead so often because of all those hurdles that I'm almost switching over to "evildoer" Google's browser for good.
    • Compared to what?

      It's still better looking than IE and, by a long mile, Chrome (which is just gawd awful hideous). Plus it's the most skinnable of the bunch.
      x I'm tc
      • Errr....

        So by your statement, looking better is better than buggy?

    Firefox 20 introduces better security
    Firefox 21introduces better security
    Firefox 22introduces better security
    Firefox 23 introduces better security

    Yeahhhhhh. or whatever.
    • Yep

      Software security should always be improved.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • Don't we have to wonder about someone who ...

        "whatevers" security?

        I do.
        Rob Berman
    • a wise man once said......

      security is not a "Thing", it is an ongoing process of revision and implementation.
    • Hehehe

      And yet it is still in the top 3 most vulnerable browsers of 2012 [Safari and Chrome are buggier as per Symantec & Secuna reports].
  • Firefox 23 beta introduces better security and sharing

    That is why I like using Firefox. The security is great on it plus the plug-ins can't be beat.
    • Curious you use Bing or Google with your Firefox?

      Since your such a Windows supporter.
      Over and Out
  • It's the sync features that kill it for me.

    Chrome is just so consistent across different machines. I love that I can just log into chrome and all my plugins, extensions, history etc. are just there. Firefox seems to screw up my book marks, create duplicates, lose my history etc. and I'm tired of trying to search for, install and reconfigure all my plugins every time I log in another computer.
    • You store data at Google? Really ??

      Making it easy for the NSA?

      My laptop is my "main computer". If I want to use Firefox from the desktop I simply open Firefox on the desktop using the profile on the laptop.

      OTOH I do have the laptop and don't need use library computers . ..
      Rob Berman