In a world plagued by data breaches and exposed passwords, people who frequent the internet would be glad to know that Mozilla is now helping protect user privacy by updating the Firefox browser to block trackers by default.

In a blog entry, Mozilla said “people feel increasingly vulnerable” in terms of online privacy, and has decided to “establish a new standard that puts people’s privacy first.” In keeping with this, the internet company is rolling out the updated Enhanced Tracking Protection feature to all Firefox users.

A huge jump

Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection feature isn’t entirely new, but it’s been updated to be more effective at keeping netizens safe. This feature, originally announced last year, blocks cookies that are used by companies to track a user’s every move online.

Cookies are small text files that companies, whether first-party website operators or third-party advertising firms, use to monitor a user’s movements on the internet, CNet reported. Privacy-related concerns considered, cookies aren't as appealing as they are in the internet as they are in the real world.

Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection feature blocks “third-party cookies” advertisers use to promote their products and services. Unlike last year, however, the cookie-blocking feature is now turned “on” by default, allowing new Firefox users to use it as soon as they install Mozilla’s browser on their devices.

As for longtime Firefox users, Mozilla said it will roll the feature out and will automatically turn blocking “on” in a future update without the need for users to do anything. Those who want to enjoy the online protection feature, however, can turn it on by accessing the Content Blocking option from the menu.

What it blocks

Mozilla said the Enhanced Tracking Protection feature will “on” by default as part of the “Standard” setting in the browser. It will block known cookies included in the Disconnect list. Disconnect said these cookies collect and retain user data, even when they are not from the website operator. The list can be accessed here.

The Disconnect list exempts cookies that collect and retain user data if the user has given them permission to collect his or her data (opt-in), and if the cookie is deemed safe according to user feedback.

Mozilla Firefox Mozilla launched a new extension that blocks Facebook from tracking users around the web. Photo: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images