The folks at Mozilla released the latest version of Firefox web browser for desktop systems and mobile devices on Tuesday, fixing 16 security holes and a raft of stability problems.
The company also streamlined the browser’s automatic update feature to more closely resemble the silent update feature of Google’s competing Chrome browser.
Firefox 15 follows hot on the heels of version 14, which was released in July.
The update fixes for more than 2,200 discrete bugs, including 16 security vulnerabilities, seven of them labeled “critical.”
The critical fixes include a patch for the “new tab” privilege escalation vulnerability that Naked Security reported on in June.
Mozilla also fixed a bitmap processing error in which Firefox crashed when attempting to decode bitmap (.bmp) images with a negative height header value. The vulnerability caused a memory crash that could, potentially, be exploitable, Mozilla warned.
Mozilla touted improvements in the browser’s memory management features which make it faster and provide for a “smoother and more responsive” browsing experience.
I’m not sure what’s meant by that exactly, but users have long complained about memory leaks, especially during long browsing sessions and when multiple Firefox add-ons were running.
A cursory review of the bug fixes for version 15 of Firefox shows that around 170 were related to various browser “crashes,” so smoother and more responsive may just mean ‘it doesn’t crash as much.’
The improvements to the silent update feature mean that future software updates to Mozilla Firefox are installed in the background when the browser is operating.
Windows-style automatic updates have been around since the release of Firefox 12 in April, but limitations of the feature meant that users were still presented with prompts when restarting the browser after an update.
That aside, there were no strictly security-related features in the new release.
That’s in contrast to Version 14, which added features such as the “click to play” feature that blocked default loading of (potentially malicious) plug-ins as well as default secure HTTP (https) web searches using Google.
The company said that the browser’s security features have been ported to the Android version of Firefox, providing comparable security for folks browsing on Android smart phones and tablets.
Mozilla’s baby has been lagging well behind snappier competitors like Google’s Chrome in recent months.
Use of Chrome has exploded in the last year, while Firefox’s market share has been flat to slightly down.
Depending on which organization you ask, Google’s browser is either the most popular web browser, ahead of even Microsoft’s Internet Explorer – or battling it out with Firefox for second place.
97 comments on “Firefox 15 released: Seven critical vulnerabilities patched and stealthy updates too!”
This is the best explanation of the memory manager improvements: http://blog.mozilla.org/nnethercote/2012/07/19/fi…
It's also the blog for MemShrink project, which handles improving memory usage and reducing leaks.
Thanks for the link. I don't think I've used Firefox in the last year+ just because the memory leak issue was getting so bad. If it truly is using less ram now, I may switch back. I hate how Google does it. I have 3 tabs open and that means 15 processes.
Thunderbird has also been update (to V15) – but beware that the associated update to Lightning (v1.7 Calendar functionality) carries a dodgy file (according to my Norton Internet Security 2012): calbasecomps.dll – an essential component of Lightning. False Positive?
I stopped using Firefox a couple of years ago, fed up with the endless tweaking and updating of it that just seemed to make my computer slower and crash more. Changed to Opera and never looked back.
I am guilty of keeping many tabs open simultaneously. My question is: If I update Firefox, does it remember the pages that are currently open? (I always choose the preference for Firefox to "remember tabs from last session" but don't know if this would apply to the situation of a software update)
Does anyone know this info?
Firefox 15.0 arrived 8/30 and immediately crashed on startup. This happened again after rebooting. I uninstalled and reinstalled 15.0 with same result. I uninstalled 15.0, then installed 14.0, which worked just fine. On 8/31 I started up 14.0 and Firefox upgraded me to 15.0, which immediately crashed.
They may have fixed many problems but started another set.
Steve… Remember the old saying “step on one bug and a bunch more come to the funeral”?
Back when Mozilla Foundation released the Mozilla Suite, they were cutting edge, and promised to recapture the lost utility of the classic Netscape Communicator suite, which had been ravaged to destruction by AOL. Then MoFo got it in their heads to break up the suite into separate browser (Firefox) and mail client (Thunderbird) apps that "play nice with each other."
Yet, for all their virtues (which arguably consist principally of being a more high-visibility alternative to Microsoft's IE and Outlook/Express than the Moz Suite ever was), they have never lived up their promise of "playing nice" anywhere near as well as the browser and mail apps continued to do in Moz Suite, and which they still do beautifully in SeaMonkey, the successor to the Mozilla Suite.
Alas, Firefox has become a bad joke. I guess Thunderbird is still a decent mail client, but I don't know because I don't even bother with it any more. I just use SeaMonkey, which seems to have become the repository of the soul and spirit that Mozilla has lost.
I do user Firefox, but only because of a few must-have add-ons.
I dont sue anything with Firefox 😉
I’m gonna sue you.
Yes Firefox is my fav
I sue all kinds of browsers! So far they’ve all settled out of court.
I personally use Google Chrome, mostly because later versions of Firefox tend to lock up when I’m browsing sites like nakedsecurity.sophos.com (:D) or watching YouTube videos. But still, good news.
I tried it and it ended up freezing up all the time. I got rid of it..I did not like it.
I use chrome 😛 nice typo by the way XD
Windows explorer all the way!! Firefox and chrome are proned to malware and viruses
nope.. I don’t sue firefox.
I’d SUE Microsoft IE, and I USE Firefox and Opera =)
Mine was updated this morning.
I used to it got to bloated and I keep trying to go back maybe I will try again I really Like Chrome even though I know the Google is tracking me to a point but it is a fast Browser , hate the flash issues it causes though FF had the same issues with Flash .. love IE 10 on WIN 8
Good grief NO! Chrome all the way.
No no. You’re thinking of Apple.
I used to sue Firefox but now mainly file my issues with chrome
The household uses Firefox. I use Seamonkey. I wont use Chrome for any reason.
firefox just did another update this morning
its use not sue!
I use it’s cousin “Seamonkey”
I like Firefox. I also use Chrome. On rare occasions, when circumstances demand it, I use IE 64bit.
Mozilla’s SeaMonkey is the latest and greatest, especially for privacy. Firefox was the leader for a long time,then bloated itself which made Chrome look like a miracle until it rapidlyfollowed into bloated uselessness. Sea Monkey is extremely light on its feet, uses the vital plugins andmost importantly, starts quick, surfs quick and doesn’t crash or freeze. Whatever else we want from a browser, these are essentials and cant be traded in or we move on. It’s that simple.
Firefox is great.
I like firefox because I tried chrome and for my game it was like dial up, why I am not sure.
A boy named Sue Firefox
Chrome. I used Firefox when it was spun off from Mozilla. Since then it’s become a bloated pile of junk much as Mozilla was.
I didn’t put FF on my new PC
Opera all the way; on my mobile, laptop and desktop.
I use to love Firefox. It’s awful now. I switched to Chrome and it’s been much better.
I use Firefox. I have never heard of Sea Monkey. Is it created by Mozilla? Does it have that awesome spell check feature where it underlines typos?
hmmmm…I’ll certainly look at SeaMonkey next time FireFox slows to a crawl. Thanks for the tip. IE is for noobs.
I use chrome & FF
Chrome for me.
I love firefox – it’s add-ons keep me loyal
I haven’t used Firefox since version 3.. I might check it out again in six months when they release version 32,516.
I found Firefox unstable, I love Maxthon, never ever a problem
*sue*? Oops… “use”. 🙂
I’m still rocking Netscape and Mosaic!
I leave the suing to Apple, Samsung, Google, etc
Goody, took them almost three months but you firefoxers are safe now…for a while.
Yet Windows 7 was safe all the while…
Downloaded FF normal + Palemoon 64bit and both felt really jerky and slow. Back to Chrome.
sue..? how do you do..
Google Chrome – dev channel, for the most part, though I always have the latest Firefox Beta installed as well.
Last time I tried Firefox I couldn’t get it to work at all, which kinda put me off a bit. I used to love it up to v3.6, but then along came Chrome….
Firefox is horrible. Haven’t touched it for a long time.
Thanks. Just clicked on About Firefox and it started downloading it.
BTW, Windows 7 is safe? Safe from what, gonnorrhea?
I’ve never found it suable
I use Maxthon on my phone, rarely use desktop lol.
I got nailed by the Ransomvirus,it came up here on the feed w
I stopped using Firefox when it suddenly stopped working one day. Now I use Chrome and Safari
Shortly after I read it ,thats when it got me,,had to completely wipe out drive
I thought it had ur Logo at the top but not sure…
I used to use Firefox until the bookmarks stopped working and couldn’t get an easy fix! Now I now use Chrome!
ie8 4 now
Mainly Opera, except I need some of the AddOns only Firefox has.
Sueing is to expensive. I don’t do it.
chrome 21.0.1180.83 m
Ha, nice Freudian slip. Firefox user here
I hope this fixes FF I was about ready to move elsewhere
Too expensive to sue! I don’t see what I’d sue them over anyways.
It’s good v15 was released as v14 is memory leaking out of control bloating up to 2gb in 4-hour browsing.
If I look at google analytics on my sites IE is still king: 35- 40% because it is default for windows. Chrome and FF are about equal, around 20% each. Like most web developers, I use all the browsers but FF still has the best addons.
Firefox for the addons.
I use Firefox mainly on my Mac because Chrome has been killing my MacBook Pro CPU.
It’s on my old DOA machine still, can’t remove it now, but glad I never installed FF on this machine. Phew, dodged another bullet…
I use both Firefox and Chrome.
Waterfox and Iron, The builds from the actual company’s themselves are pretty dam shitty
Well, I’m sueing Firefox for a long time and I’ve never had any serious problems with it. And the new update makes it eat a bit less memory. I like it very much!
Google Chrome is where the Google is.
I do use firefox but I prefer chrome
My main browser is Seamonkey
For the PC, I like Google Chrome. For the Mac, I like Safari. Chrome is MUCH faster than either Firefox or IE.
Chrome set me adrift, so I went back to Firefox. Annoying to be told you get no updates because your OS is too old (OS X 10.5.x), so good luck and goodbye to Google. I’d be interested to know over time how many Chrome users are stuck with an old version.
Up dated two days ago.. 🙂
I use Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Comodo Dragon. No Internet Explorer.
Use Firefox and never found the need to “sue” them or anyone else – yet 😉
I tried to download it yesterday but the server was unresponsive. I’ll try to download it again.
I usually use Firefox, and occasionally use Chrome. I’ve never had any serious problems with FF.
Well, I take that back: a few months ago I had a lot of crashes, often several a day — but only on my machine, not on the library computers. So on my laptop I used Chrome, and tried out IE for awhile. After a while Mozilla released a version that didn’t crash, so I went back to using it. I use a few add-ons and am used to them, so changing browsers would be a problem; but FF works well for me.
The incoming , outgoing call records as well as the times,
dates and duration of the phone calls are all stored on the internal memory of the cell phone.
By simply setting up a bedroom phone to night mode,
it will not call via the night time hours. These directories are constantly updated to keep up with
the hundreds of millions of cell phone numbers that exist today.