12 September 2019
Mozilla has announced Firefox 83 as the newest version of its web browser. It comes with one major feature called HTTPS-only Mode that is aimed at improving the security of the users. As the name suggests, the mode basically promotes HTTPS versions of the websites and warns users when visiting an HTTP website.
For those unfamiliar with the terms, HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is a protocol that is used by web browsers and websites to show information requested by the user. This communication happens in plain text form which makes it easy for hackers or anyone with malicious intent to steal the information. This is where HTTPS (HTTP over TLS) comes into the picture as it serves the same purpose but in encrypted form and by establishing a secure and private connection.
While more and more websites and web pages have now opted for HTTPS, there are still links that follow HTTP. Firefox 83's new HTTPS-only Mode will prefer opening the HTTPS version of the requested web page. This will work even if the user enters HTTP in the URL as the mode will automatically redirect to the secure version. If the URL does not have an HTTPS variant, it will show a warning to the user and let them choose whether to proceed ahead.
It should be noted that HTTPS-only Mode will be disabled by default. In order to enable it, one will need to visit Preferences->Privacy & Security->HTTPS-only Mode section. There will be two options, one for enabling the mode for all windows and another for enabling it only for private windows. It is up to you how you want to make use of it.