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Firefox begins the rollout of encrypted DNS over HTTPS (DoH) by default for US-based users

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Updated » 01 March 2020

Dan Maloney, Hackaday »

Mozilla announced this week that Firefox would turn on DNS over HTTPS (DoH) by default in the United States. DoH encrypts the DNS requests that are needed to translate a domain name to an IP address, which normally travel in clear text and are therefore easily observed. Easily readable DNS transactions are also key to content blockers, which has raised the hackles of regulators and legislators over the plan, who are singing the usual “think of the children” song. That DoH would make user data collection and ad-tracking harder probably has nothing to do with their protests.

Firefox will perform DNS over HTTPS greatly increasing user privacy and security » Update » Google follows and will test DoH in Chrome

Even if you are visiting a site over HTTPS, your DNS query that your computer uses to look up the address of the site, is sent over an unencrypted connection. This means that even if you are browsing over HTTPS, a third=party could be examining the packets sent to and from your computer and know which sites you are visiting, even if the don’t know the contents.

DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) encrypts the address look up of the site you want to visit. This increase user privacy and makes it harder for third-party eavesdropping. It also makes it more difficult for ISP-level blocking.

This extra layer of security ideally prevents third-parties, such as network service providers, from easily seeing the websites internet users visit, and prevents miscreants from tampering with domain-name look-ups. Though DoH provides more privacy than the status quo, it’s controversial where lack of privacy is assumed or required, such as monitored environments that insist on content filtering, among other reasons.

Back in July, the UK Internet Services Providers’ Association nominated Mozilla for its “internet villain of the year” award because DoH breaks DNS-based content filters put in place to deny access to explicit, obscene or otherwise objectionable websites. A few days later, the trade group reversed itself after online blowback.

» Read more by Thomas Claburn at The Register…

» How to enable DNS-over-HTTPS in Firefox at TechRepublic

» Google Chrome steps up their game and follows Firefox » ZDNet

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