Firefox 79 To Roll Out Redirect Tracking Protection

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Taking another step towards user security, Mozilla has now announced one more protection feature. Following the release of Firefox 79, Mozilla will soon roll out the redirect tracking protection feature to users.

Firefox To Launch Redirect Tracking Protection

As announced in a recent post, Mozilla will soon release redirect tracking protection to Firefox users.

Regarding redirect tracking, Mozilla explained that it’s a technique employed by websites to circumvent third-party cookie blocking.

As a standard, Firefox browser blocks trackers from using third-party cookies, hence allowing only first-party cookies. This is what redirect tracking exploits. The technique allows the tracking firms to redirect users to their website (very briefly) to use cookies as first-party. As explained by Mozilla,

Redirect trackers work by forcing you to make an imperceptible and momentary stopover to their website as part of that journey. So instead of navigating directly…, you end up navigating to the redirect tracker first rather than to the retailer. This means that the tracker is loaded as a first-party and therefore is allowed to store cookies.

Briefly, when a user visits a website, for instance, a product review website, and then decide to buy the product, then clicking on the link should ideally take the user to the target retail website.

However, with redirect tracking in place, a tracker does not directly take the user to the review website. Rather it first redirects to the tracker’s website where the cookies would load as first-party. Since the tracker saves the users’ intended destination, after placing the cookies, the tracker then redirects the user to the relevant retail site.

All of this happens very quickly without the user knowing. Also, hovering over the product’s link will not show any redirects, rather it will display the retail website’s link. So, the user remains ignorant of the tracking. Whereas the tracker will continue to track the users’ activities for all websites using it, eventually tracking across the web.

Source: Mozilla

How Will It Work?

Following the release of Firefox 79, Mozilla has introduced Enhanced Tracking Protection 2.0, where it includes redirect tracking protection.

With ETP 2.0, Firefox will clear cookies and site data stored by trackers after every 24 hours. In this way, it fights back long-term user profiling.

This will typically work for tracking cookies, and won’t affect non-tracking sites.

Moreover, to prevents the users from logging out of various sites due to cookie clearing, Firefox will put a 45-day exception for trackers that a user directly interacts with. As explained,

The sites you visit and interact with regularly will continue to work as expected, while the invisible “redirect” trackers will have their storage regularly cleared.

Mozilla has shared the details about how it will work on MDN.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Abeerah Hashim

Abeerah has been a passionate blogger for several years with a particular interest towards science and technology. She is crazy to know everything about the latest tech developments. Knowing and writing about cybersecurity, hacking, and spying has always enchanted her. When she is not writing, what else can be a better pastime than web surfing and staying updated about the tech world! Reach out to me at: [email protected]

Abeerah Hashim

Abeerah has been a passionate blogger for several years with a particular interest towards science and technology. She is crazy to know everything about the latest tech developments. Knowing and writing about cybersecurity, hacking, and spying has always enchanted her. When she is not writing, what else can be a better pastime than web surfing and staying updated about the tech world! Reach out to me at: [email protected]

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