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Firefox now encrypts domain name requests by default in the US

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After a brief delay, Mozilla has started to make DNS over HTTPS the default for Firefox users in the US. Notwithstanding any additional hiccups, the company says it hopes to finish the rollout sometime over the next couple of weeks. The protocol is supposed to protect one of the most fundamental aspects of browsing the internet: translating URLs into IP addresses. Without DNS over HTTPS, bad actors can see what websites you’ve visited — even if they don’t know what you did on those sites thanks to HTTPS. The protocol protects your privacy by effectively disguising DNS queries as regular HTTPS traffic.

If you live outside the US, you can enable the feature by visiting Firefox’s settings menu and toggling the appropriate option. Protecting domain name requests is something Firefox has been working on for the last number of years; in recent months, several other companies have started to think about doing the same. In October, for instance, Google started testing the protocol in Chrome.

As with most security and privacy-related features, not everyone is a fan of DNS over HTTPS. ISPs, in particular, have come out against the protocol because it would allow people to potentially hide pirating. Some experts, meanwhile, say the protocol won’t prevent ISPs from tracking users — since they can extrapolate your browser history using other data. They also worry that it will centralize DNS traffic through just a couple of companies like Cloudflare. Despite those objections, Firefox plans to continue rolling out DNS over HTTPS, with the company planning to enable the protocol in other countries in the future.

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