Firefox 85 arrives, killing off Flash and protecting against supercookies
Firefox was the last major browser to support FlashBy Rob Thubron
What just happened? Those who prefer Mozilla's Firefox over the likes of Chrome will be pleased to hear that the latest version of the browser has arrived, bringing protection from supercookies and finally removing Adobe Flash Player support.
By killing off Flash in Firefox 85 (download here), Adobe's once universally popular software is now no longer supported on any major browsers. The move has been a long time coming; Mozilla disabled the Flash plugin by default in 2019.
Back in 2017, Adobe itself was one of several tech giants to announce it would no longer support Flash Player after 2020, with better and secure options such as HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly taking its place.
Both Chrome and Edge dropped support for Flash this month. There's no setting to re-enable support in Firefox 85.
Elsewhere, Firefox 85 is crushing supercookies. "In short, supercookies can be used in place of ordinary cookies to store user identifiers, but they are much more difficult to delete and block. This makes it nearly impossible for users to protect their privacy as they browse the web," writes Mozilla.
"Over the years, trackers have been found storing user identifiers as supercookies in increasingly obscure parts of the browser, including in Flash storage, ETags, and HSTS flags. The changes we're making in Firefox 85 greatly reduce the effectiveness of cache-based supercookies by eliminating a tracker's ability to use them across websites."
The protection works by using a different image cache for every website a user visits. That means while Firefox 85 still loads cached images when users visit the same site, those caches are not shared across sites.
"To further protect users from connection-based tracking, Firefox 85 also partitions pooled connections, prefetch connections, preconnect connections, speculative connections, and TLS session identifiers," Mozilla says.
Other changes include Firefox 85's password manager now allowing all saved credentials to be removed with a single click, a bookmarks folder being added to the bookmarks toolbar, and the browser remembering users' preferred location for saved bookmarks. There is also the usual slew of security fixes.