A new version of Tor Browser, a Firefox-based web browser with Tor functionality added to it, has been released on June 7, 2017.
Tor Browser 7.0 introduces support for Firefox’s multi-process architecture e10s and content sandboxing as the major new features of the release.
The browser itself is now based on Firefox 52 ESR, the most recent Extended Support Release version of the Firefox web browser. You can check out what is new in Firefox 52 here. Note that Firefox 52 ESR ships with improvements made in previous versions of the browser as well.
The multi-process implementation is available across all supported operating systems. The same is not true for content sandboxing however, as only Linux and Mac OS X versions of Tor Browser 7.0 may make use of that.
The Windows content sandboxing is still in the works, and can be tracked on the official bug tracker.
Tor Browser 7.0 released
The switch to Firefox 52 ESR as the code base of Tor Browser brought changes to the system requirements. Tor Browser 7 on Windows for instance does not run on devices that don’t support SSE2 (Streaming SIMD Extensions 2).
AMD and Intel added support for SSE2 back in 2001 and 2003, and most processors sold in the past decade support the functionality. Still, it may mean that the new Tor Browser version won’t run on systems that are older than 15 or so years.
On Apple systems, Mac OS X 10.9 is now the minimum requirement for Tor Browser 7.0.
As far as tracking and fingerprinting protection or resistance is concerned, multiple changes and improvements were made in the new version.
The highlights in our tracking and fingerprinting resistance improvements are: cookies, view-source requests and the Permissions API are isolated to the first party URL bar domain now to enhance our tracking related defenses. On the fingerprinting side we disabled and/or patched several new features, among them WebGL2, the WebAudio, Social, SpeechSynthesis, and Touch APIs, and the MediaError.message property.
The team that developers the Tor Browser hardens the base version of the Firefox web browser in many different ways to improve privacy of its users.
The new version of the Tor Browser has a couple of known issues that users need to be aware of before making the upgrade to the new version:
- PDF download button is broken. A workaround is to right-click on the PDF file and select the “save as” option of the context menu.
- There is a NoScript bug right now that freezes some websites. The team hopes that the issue is addressed in a NoScript update soon. If it is not, it plans to release Tor Brower 7.0.1 instead which fixes it. Tor Browser ships with NoScript which means that it affects all users of the browser.
- ALSA is no longer supported on Linux. To have sound in the browser on Linux, PulseAudio needs to be available.
The full changelog has been posted on the Tor project website.
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