Mozilla has announced that it’s firefox browser implementing DOH – DNS over HTTP by default for all users in the U.S.a major step in the push to fully encrypt all Internet traffic and eliminate the risk of attack. However, while Mozilla is pushing the feature as “one of the many privacy protections you can expect to see from us in 2020,” it could be gearing up for a lengthy legislative battle.
On a technical level, DNS over HTTPS (DoH) encrypts the initial lookup of the website you want to reach, known as the Domain Name System. “DNS is a database that links a human-friendly name, such as http://www.mozilla.org, to a computer-friendly series of numbers, called an IP address (e.g. 192.0.2.1),” Mozilla explains. “By performing a ‘lookup’ in this database, your web browser is able to find websites on your behalf.”
Since these split-second requests also include your IP address, a hacker could take that information to create an online profile of you and the sites you visit, or the server itself could be collecting your data for advertising or marketing purposes, often without your knowledge.
By turning on default DNS over HTTPS, Firefox assures users that it is only using trusted servers—cloudflare and NextDN at the outset—which are “committed to throwing away all personally identifiable data after 24 hours, and to never pass that data along to third-parties.” So if you use the Firefox browser in the U.S., your Internet traffic will ignore your ISP’s server and redirect it to either Cloudfare or NextDN to ensure encryption from start to finish. It’s somewhat like surfing through a VPN without actually signing into one.