Firefox is getting a built-in VPN – here’s how to test it

Mozilla has announced it is launching a VPN within its Firefox web browser, as part of a new Test Pilot Program.

The first beta of the returning Test Pilot Program brings a built-in virtual private network, making it easier for users to protect their online activity from prying eyes. The non-profit Mozilla foundation says the VPN will help to protect web users from “hackers lurking in plain sight on public connections.”

In a blog post on Wednesday, the company wrote: “The Firefox Private Network is an extension which provides a secure, encrypted path to the web to protect your connection and your personal information anywhere and everywhere you use your Firefox browser.”

The browser extension, which is available to desktop users in the U.S. from today, can be toggled on and off and will make clear when users are protected.

Mozilla says the VPN will provide a secure tunnel to the web while using public Wi-Fi access points. The firm also points out home users might want to jump in on the VPN to keep their IP address hidden from advertising networks seeking to track their browsing history.

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Right now it’s free to use, but Mozilla says user feedback is key to whether it introduces a VPN into the main browser and how it should be priced. You’ll need a Firefox account in order to take the Firefox Private Network beta for a spin.

The firm added: “Your feedback will be essential in making sure that we offer a full complement of services that address the problems you face online with the right-priced service solutions.”

Back in October it was reported the foundation had partnered with the ProtonVPN service, with a new notification piping-up when the browser detects an unsecured connection, or in a scenario when VPN might be preferable to users. It’s not clear whether this is related to today’s announcement.

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