Just a week after the release of Firefox 15, Mozilla have published Firefox 15.0.1 – the only change in this new version is a fix for a major issue with Private Browsing.
Private Browsing is a privacy feature designed to leave no detectable evidence of your browsing and search history. It therefore helps prevent anyone else who uses your computer from seeing which webpages you visited and what content you viewed.
Firefox developers suggest that Private Browsing is therefore most useful when ‘shopping for a birthday present’. However, it is also commonly known as ‘P0rn Mode’ or ‘Man’s Best Friend’ which gives an indication of its more popular usage…
After Firefox 15 was released it was discovered that “sites visited while in Private Browsing mode could be found through manual browser cache inspection”. Obviously this was very bad news for user privacy as it meant that other people could find out which websites you had visited – even worse if you were using it on someone else’s computer.
The latest update to Firefox fixes this issue and re-protects privacy again. Firefox 15.0.1 is already available – automatic updates should have offered you the update at the time of writing. If not, check for updates manually (via Firefox Menu \ Help \ About Firefox \ Check For Updates) to install it.
All browsers (and programs) encounter bugs but this was one of the more serious ones as there was no indication in Firefox 15 that Private Browsing was being changed.
It is a privacy feature trusted implicitly by many users who are likely to feel extremely let down – I was glib about the primary use of Private Browsing earlier but there may be cases in some countries or workplaces where browsing privacy is not a laughing matter.