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Prepare to have your shonky password hygiene shamed by Firefox 76

Mozilla's finest shores up security features among other tweaks

Third-placed browser Firefox has sought to arrest its slide in the rankings with the arrival of version 76, replete with beefed-up password features and tweaks to Picture-in-Picture functionality.

Mozilla recently said it intends to maintain release cadence during the pandemic, but will attempt to avoid shipping stuff that might break websites on which users depend. As such, 76 has arrived just a month after version 75.

Firefox, which recently lost the distant (to Chrome) number two position to Microsoft's Edge browser (provided one counts the legacy and Chromium Edge together), made much of the additional protection in 76 it claims to afford passwords via its password manager, Lockwise.

Describing its approach as "innovative" (something that might raise an eyebrow or two among existing password-managing outfits), the company was keen to plug functions such as showing critical alerts in Lockwise when a website is breached.

It will also prompt to update passwords if you have an account on a breached website and have used the same password elsewhere, you naughty, naughty people. Again, not quite what we would call "innovative" – existing password managers have been known to bleat in horror at users' shonky security hygiene – but nice to have nonetheless.

Complex, secure passwords can now be generated within the browser for new accounts and saved within Firefox. It sounds very similar to functionality already in the likes of Chrome, although some may prefer entrusting their valuables elsewhere rather than the Chocolate Factory.

Stopping people viewing your passwords, should you leave your computer unlocked, is also taken care of with a requirement to login into the host operating system account before a password list is exposed.

Away from the strengthening of password support in the browser, the existing Picture-in-Picture functionality now enjoys double-click support to toggle the floating video window from small to full-screen and back. Windows machines (Intel-based ones, with lower resolution screens) will also see a bump in graphics rendering performance thanks to WebRender.

Lastly, perhaps in a nod to the changed world we're now living in and the self-declared prioritising of conferencing issues, Moz now supports Audio Worklets. This means that Zoom calls can be joined on Firefox without having to faff around with additional downloads. ®


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