Firefox 68 arrives with darker dark mode, redesigned extensions dashboard

Long term release with enhanced controls for IT managers

Mozilla's new Firefox, 68, is out, and among other things it fixes an annoyance in the "Dark mode" theme where the toolbar in Reader mode retained a "light" appearance.

In the Windows, macOS, Linux and iOS release, the browser-maker is also surfacing its "Recommended Extensions" scheme, where editorial staff identify add-ons which they regard as safe and effective.

The extensions dashboard has been redesigned and now shows Recommended Extensions, though there were a grand total of four listed in our case. Mozilla's Andrew Truong said:

On AMO [] starting July 11, Recommended extensions will receive special badging to indicate its inclusion in the program. Additionally, the AMO homepage will be updated to only display Recommended content, and AMO search results will place more emphasis on Recommended extensions.

While curating extensions seems a good plan, there is a risk that this increases the "winner takes all" tendency as similar add-ons compete for attention, making it harder for new entrants to get noticed.

The new dashboard also includes a list of permissions required by each extension within the add-on manager – important for staying aware of how an extension may impact privacy and security - and an integrated "Add to Firefox" button within the list of extensions.

Firefox dark mode is now consistent across the entire window

Firefox dark mode is now consistent across the entire window

If you set Content Blocking to Strict in Firefox 68, the browser will attempt to block cryptominers (where script on the page mines cryptocurrency using your CPU) and fingerprinters (code designed to identify your device via indirect means). These options are not new but previously required custom settings.

Downloads in Firefox now support Windows Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) for updates, so that a Firefox update (on Windows) can continue to download even with the browser closed.

Camera and microphone access has now been locked down so that an encrypted connection is required. This matches a similar feature in Google Chrome. The exception is that camera and microphone access still works from localhost – a server running on your own PC.

Firefox 68 checks contrast against accessibility guidelines

Firefox 68 checks contrast against accessibility guidelines: Mozilla's home page fails, but by less than most sites.

Firefox Developer tools includes a colour contrast check in the accessibility section. This checks that the contrast between background and foreground is sufficient to ensure legibility. We tried it on the Mozilla home page and it failed with a score of 4.5.0 – a near-miss though, since the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) specify 4.5.1 as the minimum. Some sites closer to home – ahem – appear to need even more work. In fact, in a brief check on some major sites none passed the test, so either the test is borked, or (more likely) this is challenging for many web designers.

The increasing capability of mobile devices like Apple's iPad Pro means that you may well want the desktop version of a site. In the new Firefox iOS (version 18), sites that you display in desktop view will always be in desktop view unless you switch back. A blue dot in the address bar indicates that you have the desktop site.

Firefox 68 is available as an "Extended support release", the first since Firefox 60. This version is aimed at larger organisations and has features aimed at IT admins, including an MSI (Microsoft Installer) installer for Windows, and new policies for site-wide customisation including new tab page configuration, extension configuration, and the ability to specify links to local files. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading
  • Big Tech loves talking up privacy – while trying to kill privacy legislation
    Study claims Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft work to derail data rules

    Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft often support privacy in public statements, but behind the scenes they've been working through some common organizations to weaken or kill privacy legislation in US states.

    That's according to a report this week from news non-profit The Markup, which said the corporations hire lobbyists from the same few groups and law firms to defang or drown state privacy bills.

    The report examined 31 states when state legislatures were considering privacy legislation and identified 445 lobbyists and lobbying firms working on behalf of Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, along with industry groups like TechNet and the State Privacy and Security Coalition.

    Continue reading
  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022