The updates in Tor Browser 11.5 focus on circumventing censorship, a process that started a year ago in version 10.5 with improving the Tor connection experience. In the new version, users no longer have to manually try out bridge configurations to unblock Tor.
Another important new feature in version 11.5 is making ‘HTTPS-Only Mode’ the default browsing mode, so that the connection is through a secure tunnel. This ensures that all data exchange between the user and the server hosting the website will be encrypted to defend against Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks and to protect users from SSL stripping on malicious exit relays. The Tor team assures users that SecureDrop will continue to work as intended despite the deprecation and replacement of the HTTPS-Everywhere extension that served as an onion name interpreter. The only exception to replacing HTTPS-Everywhere with the new HTTPS-Only Mode is Android, which has generally fallen behind. Tor’s development team admitted this and promised to do more about Android, releasing updates more frequently, fixing the many bugs that have accumulated, and catching up with the Fenix (Firefox for Android) releases.
The third significant improvement in Tor Browser 11.5 is a heavily revamped Network Settings menu, now called “Connection Settings,” which should make it easier to find and understand specific settings. Most notably, bridge configuration and connection options have been redesigned to enable quick and easy review and management. Using emojis on the saved Bridges, the new interface offers visualization for the configuration for the first time, making it easy to identify the right bridge and select it when needed.