The Firefox 4 browser was released Tuesday, March 22, setting up another battle with Internet Explorer for consumer, government and business market share.
Mozilla also announced Firefox 4 would feature “uninterrupted browsing” when the Adobe Flash, Apple QuickTime or Microsoft Silverlight plug-ins crash; a new interface for the browser and tabs; and new security features, including:
- Do Not Track: A universal standard Firefox is promoting that allows users to opt out of tracking used for behavioral advertising;
- HTTP Strict Transport Security, which Mozilla says “automatically establishes secure connections to stop ‘man in the middle’ attacks and keep sensitive data safe from interception during the log-in process;” and
- Content Security Policy, which “prevents cross-scripting attacks by allowing sites to explicitly tell the browser which content is legitimate.”
Firefox 4 had been downloaded 1.2 million times as of Tuesday afternoon.
The release of Firefox 4 comes as many government agencies continue to run older browser versions, potentially making themselves more vulnerable to Web-based cyber-attacks.
Statistics vary about each browser’s market share. Internet Explorer remains the most popular, although the margin isn’t certain. The USA Today cited numbers from Net Applications: 54 percent market share for Internet Explorer, Firefox had almost 18 percent, Google Chrome with 9 percent and Safari at 5 percent. But those numbers will likely change because Internet Explorer doesn’t support Windows XP, the operating system still widely used by many public- and private-sector organizations.