The latest version of Mozilla Firefox is including a welcome security upgrade that the company hopes can keep its browser safe from code-based attacks.
Available now, the desktop and mobile editions of Firefox 95 will come with RLBox technology, which looks to prevent and limit any damage caused by code security flaws or bugs.
The “novel sandboxing tool” will look to make Firefox the most secure browser option around, the company claims.
RLBox was developed by Mozilla alongside researchers at the University of California San Diego and the University of Texas.
The tool uses WebAssembly to isolate potentially buggy code, ensuring no possible infections or flaws are able to launch or execute without the user knowing.
Mozilla notes that although all major browsers, including Firefox, run web content in their own sandboxed process, hackers often chain together two vulnerabilities to break through -one to compromise the sandboxed process containing the malicious site, and another to escape the sandbox.
This has previously meant having to hoist subcomponents of a browser into a separate process, but this has some limitations – which is where RLBox comes in.
“Rather than hoisting the code into a separate process, we instead compile it into WebAssembly and then compile that WebAssembly into native code,” Mozilla says.
Although not suitable for every component, Mozilla says it is working on expanding the reach of RLBox as much as it can – including to other browsers. The company shipped a prototype to its Mac and Linux users to test in 2020, showing it can operate effectively across different operating systems.
“RLBox is a big win for us on several fronts: it protects our users from accidental defects as well as supply-chain attacks, and it reduces the need for us to scramble when such issues are disclosed upstream,” Mozilla's Bobby Holley wrote in a blog post announcing the news.
“This technology opens up new opportunities beyond what’s been possible with traditional process-based sandboxing, and we look forward to expanding its usage and (hopefully) seeing it adopted in other browsers and software projects.”