Today in the USA, Mozilla updated Firefox for security and privacy purposes. They did this with DNS over HTTPS (DoH), a system which encrypts the interactions between computers and servers when they connect via the Internet. Because of the way insecure DNS works, “lookups” of servers done by your computer when connected to the internet are vulnerable to malicious agents. DoH stops all that business.
DNS stands for Domain Name System, a system with which server names (numbers that show computer locations on the internet), are connected with identifiers that are easy for humans to remember. With DNS, we’re able to use “Google.com” rather than a string of numbers to connect with Google’s servers and search for content.
HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) was an earlier attempt to make web browsing more private than it was with the HTTP part of the system. The differences on the surface between HTTPS and DoH are few for the average user. The HTTPS part encrypts the connection between the browser and the web server to which it connects.
DoH (DNS over HTTPS) adds encryption to the process of domain name lookups. As New America so eloquently put it, “Browsers that implement DoH use the HTTPS protocol to connect to the recursive resolver rather than using the insecure DNS protocol.”
At the moment, Firefox (in its latest update) works with a choice between Cloudflare and NextDNS for trusted resolvers. Once you’ve got the latest version of Firefox, you’ll need to go to Settings – General – Network Settings – Settings, and put a checkmark next to: Enable DNS over HTTPS. Then select a Provider (likely Cloudflare or NextDNS, unless you’ve got your own).
To gain access to the latest version of Firefox, head over to Mozilla for a download right about now. They’ve got all sorts of Firefox Browser apps for the taking.