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  1. Next up for Firefox's Tracking Protection: Social Media tracker blocking Mozilla plans to extend the functionality of Firefox's Tracking Protection feature soon by adding Social Media tracker blocking to the list of protections. Social Media tracker blocking is not an entirely new feature but Mozilla wants to move it into its own Tracking Protection category and improve it at the same time. Tracking Protection is a built-in feature of the Firefox web browser that has been designed specifically to mitigate tracking on the Internet. Mozilla enabled Tracking Protection by default for all instances just recently in stable versions of Firefox; the feature was enabled in private browsing windows previously only. The organization announced in mid 2018 that it had plans to push Tracking Protection, and that is exactly what it has been doing since. The next upgrade addresses another major source of tracking on today's Internet: social media tracking. Mozilla plans to introduce the feature in Firefox 70 Stable but the release may be postponed depending on how development progresses or even pulled. Firefox 70 Stable is scheduled for a October 23, 2019 release. Mozilla plans to block social media trackers by default in Firefox once the feature lands. Tracking Protection supports the three different states Standard, Strict and Custom; standard is the default state and social media tracker blocking is enabled in that state. Mozilla maintains a list of trackers that will get blocked when the feature is enabled. The current list includes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, and the various tracking domains that these social media services use. Firefox users may click on the Shield icon in the browser's address bar to display the types of trackers that are blocked on the active site. Social Media Trackers will be listed there if any are blocked and users may click on the small arrow icon to display the list of trackers the site attempted to load. Mozilla plans to make use of doorhangers in the future to inform users about tracking protection features. Closing Words Tracking Protection is a core feature of the Firefox web browser that has been improved significantly in the past 12 months to block more trackers but also other unwanted content such as cryptomining or fingerprinting. There is certainly room for improvement, either by improving existing protections, e.g. fingerprinting, or by implementing new tracking protection groups. Source: Next up for Firefox's Tracking Protection: Social Media tracker blocking (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  2. Group Speed Dial is a free, customizable new tab page extension for Firefox Not to take anything away from Opera's iconic speed dial, but Group Speed Dial for Firefox has possibly the best customizable new tab page I've ever used. When Mozilla made WebExtensions the only available option in Firefox 57, it killed many legendary add-ons. One of these was in my opinion, Speed Dial by Josep Del Rio. If you're a creature of habit, and tend to or visit the same websites every day, a Speed Dial page can be more convenient than regular bookmarks. The default new tab page in Firefox is okay, but I wanted more. That's when I came across Group Speed Dial by Juraj Mäsiar. It looked like a fork of the original add-on, something which I wasn't expecting at all. It seemed to me like the author also missed Speed Dial, and had created the new extension. Group Speed Dial has a lot of nifty features, some of which may have been added over time since its debut. Group Speed Dial - Basic Usage Once you install the add-on, it effectively replaces the "new tab page", with speed dials which act as visual bookmarks to the web pages that you want. To create a new speed dial, click on an empty tile and paste the URL of the web page in the "Link to page" field. Tip: You can quickly add a website to the speed-dial, by clicking the add-on's icon and selecting "Add this page to dial". For e.g. You could link to the Ghacks.net homepage, to quickly visit the blog. Since it is a visual bookmark extension, it generates a preview of the web page. You can refresh the dial's thumbnail, to keep it up to date. Tip: Some previews may require you to sign in to the specific website. By default, the speed dial page has 9 dials in a 3 by 3 format. You can however, customize the settings to add more. You can also add more pages, or Groups, as the extension's name suggests. Each page has a 3 x 3 grid, which you can customize. You can give each group a name to keep things well organized. Tip: There are many ways to organize the dials. Want to move a dial to a different dial? Click and drag it to the dial position and let go. This also works if you want to move dials between group. Advanced Options Click on the extension's icon on the toolbar, and you will see pop-up menu with a few options including one which says, "Options", except this one lets you modify the extension's settings. The options page lets you select between a white and a dark theme. The Dials and Groups appearances can be customized to your liking as well including the thumb nail size, . You can set Group Speed Dial to always open in new tab, always open in new window, auto switch to new tab etc, . You can use a custom background for your Speed Dials. The add-on lets you choose among the following background options: None, Bing image of the day, Gradient colours, A picture stored on your computer, A picture from URL and even a web-page. Note: When you use a background, there maybe a slight delay (a split-second) when the new tab page loads. Backup/Restore Dials and Settings This is an incredibly useful option. When I installed Group Speed Dial, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to import my settings/dials from Speed Dial. This got the extension ready to use in a matter of seconds. Similarly, you can use the backup option in the extension to save all your speed dials and settings. Keep a copy of this in your cloud storage account or a portable drive, in case you need to re-install Windows or you're switching computers/hard drives or want to refresh Firefox. Tip: There is another extension called "Ctrl + Number for Group Speed Dial", made by the same author. Installing this plugin allows you to use keyboard shortcuts to quickly open the dial you want. E.g. Ctrl + 1 for the 1st dial, Ctrl + 5 for the 5th, and so on. Group Speed Dial has optional cloud based features, but I prefer to use it offline, as I only use Firefox. The extension is also available for Google Chrome and Opera, but I have not used those, and hence cannot comment on them. Source: Group Speed Dial is a free, customizable new tab page extension for Firefox (gHacks)
  3. Mozilla starts test of subscription-based ad-free Internet experience Mozilla launched a new subscription-based service today in partnership with Scroll.com that gives subscribers an ad-free reading experience on participating news sites. Some might say that they get an ad-free experience already thanks to the content blocker that they are using, and that may very well be the case for sites that don't use paywalls or other means of blocking Internet users with ad-blockers from accessing the sites. The idea behind the new service is simple: make sure that site owners and users benefit from an ad-free Internet. Many Internet sites rely on advertisement revenue. Content blockers on the other hand remove ads which is beneficial to the user, but they don't address the revenue issue that arises. You could say that it is not the task of the content blocker to make sure that a site survives, and that is true, but as a user, you may be interested in keeping some sites alive. With Scroll, users would pay a monthly subscription fee to support participating sites. The details are a bit blurry right now. The First Look page is up and it provides some information. According to it, a subscription will cost $4.99 per month but you don't get to see a list of participating sites right now. A click on subscribe leads to a survey and and that sign-ups are limited at the time. Scroll lists some of its partners, and it is a selection of major sites such as Slate, The Atlantic, Gizmodo, Vox, or The Verge. The participating companies receive subscription money instead of advertising revenue. How the subscription money is split up is unclear and there is no information on Scroll's website about how the money is divided among the participating companies. Will participating publishers get their share based on activity or is it a flat fee instead? Mozilla and Scroll will likely get a cut as well. Subscribers get a handful of other benefits besides supporting sites and accessing these sites without seeing any advertisement: from a seamless experience between mobile and desktop devices to audio versions of articles, and a special app that highlights new content without advertising. Closing Words The idea to get Internet users to pay a small amount of money to get rid of advertisement is not entirely new. The test that Mozilla plans to conduct is very limited at the time, only a handful of publishers support it and while that makes for a good start, it is hard to imagine that this is attractive enough to get a sustainable number of users to sign up. It may be an option for Internet users who are a regular on one or multiple of the sites that joined the experiment, and it may be better than having to deal with sites individually instead. Then again, unless Scroll supports lots of sites, I cannot really see this go far unless the service opens its door for all publishers and reveals how business is conducted. The chance of success is certainly higher with a partner like Mozilla. Source: Mozilla starts test of subscription-based ad-free Internet experience (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  4. Mozilla has finally introduced a mechanism to let Firefox browser automatically fix certain TLS errors, often triggered when antivirus software installed on a system tries to intercept secure HTTPS connections. Most Antivirus software offers web security feature that intercepts encrypted HTTPS connections to monitor the content for malicious web pages before it reaches the web browser. To achieve this, security software replaces websites' TLS certificates with their own digital certificates issued by any trusted Certificate Authorities (CAs). Since Mozilla only trusts those CAs that are listed in its own root store, the antivirus products relying on other trusted CAs provided by the operating system (OS) are not allowed to intercept HTTPS connections on Firefox. In recent months, this limitation continually crashed HTTPS pages for many Firefox users showing them SEC_ERROR_UNKNOWN_ISSUER, MOZILLA_PKIX_ERROR_MITM_DETECTED or ERROR_SELF_SIGNED_CERT error codes when their antivirus attempts to intercept an HTTPS-enabled page by adding its root certificate to Firefox store. To let users easily fix this issue, starting with Firefox 68, the browser will now automatically enable the "enterprise roots" preference and retry the connection whenever it detects a "Man-in-the-Middle" TLS error. Enabling the "security.enterprise_roots.enabled" setting configures Firefox to trust certificates in the operating system certificate store by importing "any root CAs that have been added to the OS by the user, an administrator, or a program that has been installed on the computer." According to the company, this option is available on Windows and MacOS. The company has also recommended antivirus vendors to enable the "enterprise roots" preference instead of adding their own root CA to the Firefox root store. Moreover, the company also says that with Firefox ESR 68, the "enterprise roots" preference setting will come enabled by default. While talking about users concerns over Firefox automatically trusting certificates that haven't been audited and gone through the rigorous Mozilla process, the company says "any user or program that has the ability to add a CA to the OS almost certainly also has the ability to add that same CA directly to the Firefox root store." Besides this, starting with Firefox 68, which has been scheduled to be released on 9th July, the sensitive device features like the camera and microphone will require an HTTPS connection to work with the browser. Source
  5. This is Firefox's new QuantumBar Address Bar design Firefox 68 will be the first stable version of the web browser that features the rewrite of Firefox's address bar. The new component, called QuantumBar -- matching Mozilla's use of the Quantum name since the release of Firefox 57 Quantum -- replaces the Awesome Bar in Firefox 68. The core difference between both address bar implementations lies under the hood. Awesome Bar uses classic Firefox components such as XUL and XBL that are purged from the browser, the QuantumBar web technologies. Firefox users should not see much of a difference when they are updated to Firefox 68; Mozilla wanted the new implementation to look and feel like the old in the first release. Mozilla plans to activate the QuantumBar in Firefox 68 and to introduce updates to the address bar in future versions of the web browser. A new design mockup reveals information about planned changes and experiments. Mozilla plans to introduce changes to the QuantumBar implementation after the release of Firefox 68. The changes won't be massive in scale but they may improve functionality or change the layout or design of the address bar somewhat. One of the first changes that Firefox users may notice once the changes land is that the address bar gets a bit bigger when it is selected or when a new tab page is opened. It is a visual indicator that the bar is selected. The list of suggestions and on-off searches displayed when users start to type in the address bar won't fill the entire browser window width anymore. The suggestions use the same width as the address bar once the change lands. Firefox continues to highlight the user typed text in the list of suggestions. Mozilla plans to change that for search suggestions however. Search suggestions will have the suggested part highlighted instead to make. Whether that might lead to some confusion as to what gets highlighted when users type in the address bar remains to be seen. Another useful change is that Firefox "remembers" the current state of input. Current versions of Firefox forget what you have typed if you click outside of the area or switch tabs accidentally. The new implementation displays the last state automatically so that you may continue right away. The on-off search icons come with descriptive text that explains that the searches are for a single search only and won't change the default search provider in the Firefox browser. Mozilla plans to run a number of experiments next to these changes that might make their way into the final version of the browser eventually. The following experiments are considered currently: Display the Top 8 sites from Activity Stream on address bar activation -- Firefox displays the top 8 visited sites taken from Activity Stream when the address bar is selected. Replace one-off searches with Search shortcuts -- Instead of running searches when search icons are selected, Firefox would simply open the search engine. Single SAP -- Removes in-content search from Activity Stream and Private Browsing (removes the search bar on New Tab page and other pages) Search Tips -- Provide contextual information to help users understand QuantumBar functionality. Search Interventions -- Intercept Firefox specific-searches to "surface buried functionality". Firefox 68 is scheduled for a July 9, 2019 release. Source: This is Firefox's new QuantumBar Address Bar design (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  6. Firefox will use BITS on Windows for updates going forward Mozilla plans to change the updating technology that the organization's Firefox web browser uses on the Windows platform. The organization plans to use BITS, the Background Intelligent Transfer Service, on Windows to handle Firefox updates. BITS is a Windows file transfer service that supports downloading files and resuming interrupted file transfers while being "mindful" of the responsiveness of other network applications and network costs. Current versions of Firefox use a task called Mozilla Maintenance Service and a background update component to push updates to Firefox installations. The functionality was launched in 2012 to improve the updating experience especially on Windows. Firefox 68 could be the first stable version of Firefox to use BITS on Windows devices according to Mozilla's plans. The functionality is still in active development and it is possible that things may get delayed. The use of BITS is just the first step in Mozilla's plan, however. The organization wants to roll out another new component to handle background updates better. The component is called Background Update Agent and it is designed to download and apply updates to Firefox. The background process may download and install updates even if the Firefox web browser is not running on the system. Mozilla hopes that the new updating mechanism will be beneficial to Firefox users with slow Internet connections. The organization noticed that updates would often be terminated prematurely when users exited the browser on slow Internet connections. Mozilla engineer Matt Howell created the bug 2 years ago on Mozilla's bug tracking website. The Update Agent is being planned as a background process which will remain running after the browser is closed to download and apply updates. This should make updating more convenient for everyone and reduce the time to get new updates for users who aren't well supported by the current update process because they don't run Firefox very much and/or they have slow Internet connections. BITS preferences Note that BITS functionality is still in development at the time of writing and that some things may not work correctly right now. Firefox 68 will support two BITS related preferences; one determines whether BITS is enabled and in use, the other whether the Firefox version is part of a trial group. Load about:config in the Firefox address bar and hit enter. Confirm that you will be careful. Search for bits The preference app.update.BITS.enabled determines whether the new update functionality is enabled. True means BITS is used and enabled. False means BITS is not used and not enabled. The preference app.update.BITS.inTrialGroup is a temporary preference used during tests. Restart Firefox. Mozilla plans to add a preference to Firefox's options that gives users control over the background updating process. Firefox users may disable background updating using the preference so that the process won't download and install updates while Firefox is not running. Closing Words The use of BITS should improve Firefox's update process, especially for users on slow connections. Mozilla hopes that the new functionality will leave less Firefox installations behind version-wise. Users who don't want it will be able to disable the background updating in the options. (via Techdows) Source: Firefox will use BITS on Windows for updates going forward (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  7. Tor Browser 8.5.3 has been released to fix a Sandbox Escape vulnerability in Firefox that was recently used as part of a targeted attack against cryptocurrency companies. As this vulnerability is actively being used, it is strongly advised that all Tor users upgrade to the latest version. When starting Tor Browser, it should alert you if a new version is available. If you would like to perform a manual check, you can do so by going to Tor Browser menu -> Help -> About Tor Browser. Unfortunately, like the previous release, the Android version of Tor Browser 8.5.3 will not be available until the weekend as part of the Tor team who handles the Android signing token is away at an event. Tor 8.5.3 can be downloaded from the Tor Browser download page and from the distribution directory. The full changelog for Tor Browser 8.5.3 is: Tor Browser 8.5.3 -- June 21 2019 * All platforms * Pick up fix for Mozilla's bug 1560192 Sandbox Escape vulnerability fixed This week it was discovered that two Firefox zero-day vulnerabilities were used as part of targeted attacks against cryptocurrency firms. The two vulnerabilities used in the attack are a remote code execution vulnerability chained with a sandbox escape vulnerability. Yesterday, the Tor Project released Tor 8.5.2 to fix the RCE vulnerability, and today's release of 8.5.3 fixes the Sandbox Escape vulnerability in the bundled Firefox browser. "This release includes an important security update in Firefox, a sandbox escape bug, which combined with additional vulnerabilities could result in executing arbitrary code on the user's compute" When these two vulnerabilities were chained together, they were able to download and install information-stealing Trojans on a victim's computers as well as remote access to the computer's network. Due to this, it is imperative that users install this update immediately. Source
  8. Mozilla plans far-reaching changes to Protective features in Firefox Mozilla plans to improve the protective features of the Firefox web browser further by making user interface changes, introducing social blocking as a new tracking protection feature and protection reports, and launching a new service called Firefox Proxy. Mozilla improved the Tracking Protection feature of the Firefox web browser with the release of Firefox 67.0 in May 2019. The organization added fingerprinting and cryptomining protections to Firefox, and enabled third-party tracking cookies blocking in Firefox 67.0.1 by default. A series of new mockups suggest that Mozilla plans to make far-reaching changes to the protective features in Firefox. It needs to be noted that the plans could change, and that the final product could look different. Away with the i-icon, new tracking protection panel Firefox users may access site information with a click on the i-icon in the browser currently. A click on the icon displays information about the connection, tracking protection, and site permissions. Mozilla plans to remove the icon from Firefox and separate information into a Tracking Protection panel and the lock icon for the connection. The organization identified several issues with the current design including information overload, no separation of blocked and unblocked items, vague terminology, and visibility issues. The shield icon of the Tracking Protection feature will be visible all the time. A click on the icon displays only Tracking Protection options and information: Tracking Protection on/off toggle. Site not working repair suggestions and report option. Elements that are blocked and elements that are not blocked but can be blocked are displayed. Not blocking information. Link to Protection settings. Link to the new Protection report. The lock icon that indicates the security of the connection gets new functionality as well. Mozilla moves the connection information and site permissions to the icon. The new layout paves the way for a new type of interaction that Mozilla would like to implement. Mozilla could use the panel to push information and other content to the panel using a new Messaging system. New Social Blocking feature Social Blocking is a new Tracking Protection feature that blocks social media sites from tracking users across the Internet. The feature blocks trackers such as like-buttons or embeds on third-party sites to eliminate or reduce tracking. Firefox may display prompts to temporarily disable social trackers if they are required for user interaction, e.g. when a sign in requires that certain trackers are allowed as it would not work otherwise. Firefox users may allow tracking temporarily to complete the process. Firefox may display a notification at the top of the web page if it detected that social media tracker blocking blocked content elements such as login forms on the page. The browser displays an option to load the page with tracking protections turned off to access the missing functionality. Protection Reports Another new feature that Mozilla plans to introduce is a reporting feature called Protection Report. The browser displays the number of blocked trackers per day of the week and sorted into categories such as cross-site trackers or social trackers. The report provides Firefox Monitor and Firefox Lockwise information as well. Firefox Monitor is a breach-checking and notification service, and the report highlights the number of monitored email addresses, known breaches, and exposed passwords. Firefox Lockwise is a password manager. The report displays the number of stored and duplicate passwords. Source: Mozilla plans far-reaching changes to Protective features in Firefox (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  9. Mozilla has released a second security update this week to patch a second zero-day that was being exploited in the wild to attack Coinbase employees and other cryptocurrency organizations. Firefox 67.0.4 and Firefox ESR 60.7.2 are now available for Firefox users through the browser's built-in update mechanism. This second bug was used together with another one that Mozilla patched two days ago, through the release of Firefox 67.0.3 and Firefox ESR 60.7.1. The two zero-days The first one was described as a "remote code execution" vulnerability that allowed remote attackers to run malicious code inside Firefox's native process. The bug (CVE-2019-11707) was discovered on April 15 by a Google Project Zero researcher and reported to Mozilla, who only patched it this week after the Coinbase security team reported attacks exploiting the vulnerability, together with a second zero-day (CVE-2019-11708). This second zero-day, which Mozilla described as a "sandbox escape" allowed malicious threat actors to escape from the Firefox protected process and execute code on the underlying operating system. When combined, the two bugs provide a quick avenue for running malicious code from within a website on a visiting user's computer. The two zero-days used in the same attacks As ZDNet broke the news earlier today, these two zero-days were being used by an unknown hacking group in attempts to infect the Coinbase staff. Coinbase employees would receive spear-phishing emails that would contain links to malicious sites. If they clicked the links and visited the sites -- if they used Firefox -- the page would download and run an info-stealer on their systems that would collect and exfiltrate browser passwords, and other data. The attacks were tailored for both Mac and Windows users, with different malware strains delivered for each OS. The attacks have been going on for weeks before being detected, and Coinbase said they also targeted other cryptocurrency organizations, and not just their employees. The Firefox bugfix for the second zero-day is expected to land in the Tor Browser in the coming days. Today, the Tor Browser team updated to version 8.5.2, which includes the fix for the first zero-day. Source
  10. Firefox 68 features a new Add-ons Manager Firefox's Add-ons Manager is one of the core components of the web browser, at least for Firefox users who install browser extensions, themes, or language packs. Mozilla plans to launch a redesigned Add-ons Manager in Firefox 68 that does away with older technologies that Mozilla used in the past in Firefox. Mozilla implemented some changes to Firefox's Add-ons Manager in Firefox 64; it was clear back then that this was just a first step for the organization and that the bulk of changes would follow at a later point. The design of the Add-on's Manager was switched to a Cards design in that release. The Add-ons Manager in Firefox 68, out July 9, 2019 according to the Firefox release schedule, does not rely on legacy technologies such as XUL anymore and introduces the bulk of the changes. The new about:addons design of Firefox 68 looks similar to the Firefox 64 design but there are notable differences. Mozilla replaced the action buttons that Firefox attached to each of the extensions with a menu. One of the effects of the change is that there is more room for the extension's description, another that it takes an extra click to disable or remove extensions. A click on the extension's card opens the details view. The same view is also available when you click on the menu and select options. Details view separates information into tabs. Details contains the description of the extension, its verison and rating, and settings that are valid for all extensions, e.g. to change automatic updates behavior for that extension or allow or disallow it to run in private windows. The permissions tab lists all requested permissions by the extension. Release notes and Preferences are additional tabs that may be displayed for some extensions. The display depends on each individual extension. The main Add-ons Manager menu displays the new report option. Firefox users may report extensions to Mozilla by selecting one of the available categories, e.g. creates spam or advertising, damages my computer and data, or doesn't work, breaks websites, or slows Firefox down. The main "Manage your Extensions" page lists recommended extensions by default. Mozilla introduced the new Recommended Extensions Program for Firefox some time ago and launched a preview version in Firefox Nightly. The organization maintains a list of extensions that meet certain requirements and uses the list to recommend extensions to Firefox users. Firefox users who don't want the feature can turn extension recommendations off easily. Source: Firefox 68 features a new Add-ons Manager (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  11. Mozilla releases Firefox 67.0.3 to fix actively exploited zero-day. The Mozilla team has released earlier today version 67.0.3 of the Firefox browser to address a critical vulnerability that is currently being abused in the wild. "A type confusion vulnerability can occur when manipulating JavaScript objects due to issues in Array.pop," Mozilla engineers wrote in a security advisory posted today. "This can allow for an exploitable crash," they added. "We are aware of targeted attacks in the wild abusing this flaw." Samuel Groß, a security researcher with Google Project Zero security team, and the Coinbase Security team were credited with discovering the Firefox zero-day -- tracked as CVE-2019-11707. Outside of the short description posted on the Mozilla site, there are no other details about this security flaw or the ongoing attacks. Based on who reported the security flaw, we can safely assume the security flaw was being exploited in attacks aimed at cryptocurrency owners. Groß did not respond to a request for comment from ZDNet seeking additional details about the attacks. Firefox zero-days are quite rare. The last time the Mozilla team patched a Firefox zero-day was in December 2016, when they fixed a security flaw that was being abused at the time to expose and de-anonymize users of the privacy-first Tor Browser. Fellow browser maker Google patched a zero-day in its browser in March this year. The zero-day was being used together with a Windows 7 zero-day as part of a complex exploit chain. Source
  12. Block autoplaying video and audio in Firefox 69+ natively Most modern web browsers mute audio content that plays automatically on websites that users visit on the Internet. Firefox started to block autoplaying audio automatically with the release of Firefox 66 which Mozilla started to test in mid-2018 already in development versions of the web browser. Google Chrome, and most Chromium-based browsers, block audio from playing automatically as well on sites. Mozilla plans to improve Firefox's autoplay-blocking capabilities with the release of Firefox 69. Firefox 69 is scheduled for a September 3, 2019 release. Current versions of the Firefox web browser, that is any version pre-69, block audio from playing automatically when you visit Internet sites. Video content is not blocked in the web browser even if sites play videos automatically when you open them. Starting with Firefox 69, Firefox users will get an option to add video to the autoplay-blocking behavior of the web browser. The new Autoplay permission replaces the "block websites from automatically playing sound" option in the Firefox options. A click on the Settings button associated with the permission opens a new configuration overlay in the browser. There you find an option to set the default level of blocking for all sites and to manage websites with custom autoplay permissions. Firefox 69 supports the following three defaults for autoplay media on websites: Block Audio -- Default level. Blocks audio from playing automatically but won't block video from playing. Block Audio and Video -- New option. Blocks any media from playing automatically. Allow Audio and Video -- Allows all media to autoplay. You cannot use the configuration prompt to set custom permissions for sites. That needs to be done on the frontend by clicking on the i-icon in the Firefox address bar. Doing so opens the site information options for the active site. There you find information about the connection and content blocking, and permissions. Firefox displays all permissions that apply to the site; the development version of Firefox 69 displays "autoplay sound" still when autoplay is blocked or allowed on the site but that is surely going to get fixed before the stable release. A click on the menu next to the blocking option displays the three levels of blocking. There you may set a custom level, e.g. allow audio and sound, for that particular site. The changes that you make apply to the entire site automatically. A click on the settings icon next to permissions opens the autoplay permissions to manage the defaults and list of exceptions. Firefox won't block video and audio content on media sites. When you open a video on YouTube, it plays just fine with audio as it is the desired behavior, and the same is true for other media streaming sites such as Dailymotion. Extensions may block autoplay on video hosting sites such as YouTube, YouTube no Buffer, for example blocks autoplay on the site and when videos are embedded on third-party sites. Closing Words Starting with the release of Firefox 69, Firefox users get built-in options to block video content from autoplaying on sites automatically. The browser continues to block audio content only by default but users may change the default behavior in the settings to block video as well. Source: Block autoplaying video and audio in Firefox 69+ natively (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  13. Firefox 69 gets a password generator Mozilla is working on a new feature for the Firefox web browser that helps users generate random secure passwords when they create new accounts on the Internet. The feature is part of a concentrated effort to make the password manager of the Firefox browser more useful. Mozilla launched a first batch of improvements in Firefox 67 which it released on May 21, 2019 to the public. Among the new features were options to save passwords in private browsing mode and support for an authentication API. Mozilla released Firefox Lockwise, a password manager companion app for Android, iOS and desktop systems recently as well. Firefox Lockwise on mobile brings all saved Firefox passwords to the mobile device and supports options to sign-in globally using these passwords. Mozilla plans to introduce a password generator in Firefox 69. The password generator would work in conjunction with Firefox's built-in password manager. Firefox suggests a password during registration processes on Internet sites. The process works on sites that use the autocomplete="new-password" attribute currently only but will work on password fields that don't use it as well in the future. (thanks Sören) Firefox displays a "use generated password" option when the password field is activated. Selection of the password adds it to the field and saves it automatically under saved logins. The password is saved there even if the registration is ended prematurely. The new password generator of Firefox is not enabled by default in Firefox Nightly. It is controlled by an advanced configuration option that Firefox users may set to on or off to allow or disable the functionality. Load about:config in the Firefox address bar. Confirm that you will be careful. Search for signon.generation.available. Set the preference to True to enable the password generator or set it to False to disable it. Firefox 69 has a preference in the regular settings to control the password generator. Load about:preferences#privacy in the Firefox address bar. Scroll down to the logins and passwords section. Suggest and generate strong passwords determines whether Firefox's password generator is turned on or off. Check it to turn it on, or uncheck it to turn it off. Firefox 69 is scheduled for a September 3, 2019 release. Closing Words The password generator comes without any configuration options at this point; it is not possible to change important parameters such as the password length or charset. Still, the introduction is a step in the right direction as it assists users who use Firefox's built-in password manager with the generation of passwords that are more secure than the average passwords that users choose when they create accounts on the Internet. Google Chrome supports password generations as well but only if sync is enabled. Source: Firefox 69 gets a password generator (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  14. Firefox's Session Restore code is changing, bugs possible Firefox users may experience bugs and issues related to the browser's Session Restore feature while Mozilla is working on changing the feature's code. Session Restore is a core feature of the Firefox web browser designed to reload the last browsing session on start of the browser. Firefox users may set up the browser to load all open tabs of the previous browsing session on start of the browser. All that is required for that is to make sure that "Restore previous session" is enabled on about:preferences. Mozilla started to work on converting Firefox's current Session Restore logic to C++ to reduce the feature's impact on the browser's memory usage and performance. The bug listing on Mozilla's bug tracking website, bug 1474130, highlights the rationale behind the change content-sessionStore.js is currently loaded into every tab frameloader. Which means it gets loaded multiple times per process, which is not great. But even when loaded only once, it uses about 86K. Add to that 17K from ContentRestore.jsm and 12K from SessionHistory.jsm, and we're up to at least 120K per process, if none of the other helper JSMs get loaded. The things that these scripts do can easily be done by C++ (some of them more easily), so there doesn't seem to be a good justification for loading this much JS into every process for the sake of session restore. Ah, and of course another 12K for Utils.jsm. Mozilla hopes to address Sessionstore related performance issues with the move and to reduce the per-process memory costs of Firefox processes. The meta Sessionstore feature development bug lists the work that still needs to be done to improve the feature. It is clear, just by looking at the list of dependencies and open bugs, that it will take quite some time to resolve all outstanding issues. Another meta bug collects reliability reports related to Sessionstore, and yet another performance related issues. The list of dependencies is even longer and some users who filed bugs noticed them in stable versions of the Firefox web browser and not development versions. Tip: How to restore Firefox sessions if Session Restore is not working correctly Firefox users will benefit from the change once it lands but issues may be experienced in the meantime, especially in development versions of the Firefox web browser. Session Restore may be unable to restore the session; at least one case has been reported on Reddit by a user who reported that Firefox would restore an older session and not the most recent one. Firefox users may want to consider backing up their profiles regularly in the meantime or using extensions such as Session Boss, Tab Stash, SessionSync or Set Aside. (thanks Robert) Source: Firefox's Session Restore code is changing, bugs possible (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  15. If you lost all passwords in Firefox, read this! Reports are coming in by Firefox users from all over the world that saved passwords are no longer available when they start the web browser. Firefox, just like any other modern browser, supports the saving of authentication information to improve the sign-in process on websites. Instead of having to enter the passwords manually each time they are requested, Firefox would provide the password when needed. Firefox saves the data in the file logins.json in the Firefox profile folder. Reports suggest that Avast and AVG security applications cause the issue for Firefox users. It appears that the software programs somehow corrupt the login.json file so that Firefox cannot read it anymore. It is possible that other security programs may cause the issue as well. Good news is that the passwords are still there and that affected users should be able to recover them on their devices. Bad news is that this is only a temporary solution as the files will be corrupted again unless Avast updates its software programs to address the issue. In other words: the issue is not caused by Firefox, it is caused by third-party software that corrupts the logins file of the Firefox web browser. Fixing the lost password issue Open the Firefox web browser. Load about:support. Click on the "open folder" link near the top of the page that opens; this opens the profile folder. Close Firefox. Check if you see a file called logins.json.corrupt. If you do, rename the file to logins.json to fix it. Start Firefox. The passwords should be available again. The fix is a temporary one as the logins file will corrupt again when you restart the system. One option to fix the issue on the user's end would be to exclude Firefox or the file from scans. Other than that, you either have to wait for AVG/Avast to issue a patch that addresses the problem or remove the software from the system. Some Firefox users fixed the issue by rolling back to Firefox 67.0.1; AVG/Avast software appears to play fine with that version of the browser. The incident is not the first time that AVG or Avast software caused issues in Firefox. When Firefox 61 was released in mid 2018, the browser suddenly threw Secure Connection Failed errors when attempting to connect to HTTPS sites. Then in February 2019, users would get SEC_ERROR_UNKNOWN_ISSUER when connecting to secure sites. Turned out that the issues were caused by the security software. Update: Here is the official bug by Mozilla that highlights the issue. (thanks Techdows) Update 2: AVG provided the following statement: Some AVG users recently may have been unable to access their browser passwords when using Firefox. This only applied to those who purchased the AVG Password Protection feature and the issue was fixed today at 12:20pm. Avast users were not affected. This happened because Firefox updated its certificates for sign in to the new version of the browser and AVG did not have this new certificate marked in its database as trusted. The problem was fixed today for AVG users at 12:20 CET and an update was distributed immediately to our user base. AVG checks for updates every four hours, and users can also manually update their software under their AVG settings -> Update. Users with product version VPS 190614-02 and newer will not experience any issues. For those affected, Firefox has not deleted the password file but will have renamed it to from ‘logins.json’ to something like ‘logins.json.corrupt’ (or ‘logins.json-1.corrupt’, ‘logins.json-2.corrupt’, etc.). This means the passwords are not lost, but the user will need to rename the file back to ‘logins.json’. We recommend the user does a backup of these ‘logins.json’ files, for example to another folder, before renaming them. The password file is typically stored in the Firefox profile directory: c:\Users\<user-name>\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<random-string>.default\logins.json We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused to the affected users. Source: If you lost all passwords in Firefox, read this! (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  16. Firefox 68: add-on release notes in add-ons manager The Firefox Add-ons Manager will soon display the release notes of updated extensions directly in the web browser. Mozilla plans to release the new feature in Firefox 68 which is scheduled for a July 9, 2019 release. Firefox supports browser extensions; users may install add-ons in the browser to extend functionality of the browser or sites visited in the browser. Add-ons are updated automatically by default whenever a new version is released by the developer or publisher. Firefox users who want more control over the update process may change the default behavior to turn automatic updates off. Current versions of Firefox, those prior to version 68, don't reveal update information when you select Extensions. Updates are highlighted under Available Updates in the Add-ons Manager but only until the update is installed. The only option after installation was to visit the extension's profile page on the Mozilla Add-ons repository, or to look the information up on the developer's site if they were provided there. The profile page on Mozilla AMO lists the release notes of the latest version of an add-on. It is possible to click on "see all versions" on the page to display release notes for previous releases. Starting with Firefox 68, release notes are also a part of the Extensions listing of the Firefox web browser. Apart from that change, the latest release notes are listed there so that it is possible to go through them after the fact. All you need to do is open about:addons in the Firefox web browser, click on one of the installed browser extensions, and switch to the Release Notes tab. Note that you can also click on the menu icon (the three dots) next to any extension and select "more options" to open the details page of the installed extension. Release Notes are pulled from Mozilla's AMO website when they are opened in the browser; it may take a moment to display them because of that. Implementing an option to integrate release notes with releases so that they don't need to be fetched separately would be a welcome improvement. The release notes depend on the content that the developer of the extension or its publisher add to the release notes snipped on Mozilla AMO. Some developers provide extensive information, others barely any information at all. Closing Words The option to display release notes directly in the Firefox Add-ons Manager is a welcome step in the right direction. I'd like to see an option get these displayed during add-on updates as well to get even more control over the updating process. Mozilla could implement these optionally and keep the automatic process the default in coming versions of Firefox. Source: Firefox 68: add-on release notes in add-ons manager (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  17. Mozilla to run a Firefox Origin Telemetry experiment in development versions of Firefox Mozilla announced a push to improving privacy for all users of the Firefox web browser recently. The organization began to enable Tracking Protection functionality for all new installations with the release of Firefox 67.0.1 Stable, and plans to flip the switch for existing installations as well if settings were not modified by users already. The new default level blocks "some" trackers in private and regular browsing windows, and known tracking cookies. The previous setting blocked some known trackers in private windows only. The companies and individuals that operate these trackers and sites may react to the change, and Mozilla wants to be prepared for that. The organization plans to run an experiment in development versions of the Firefox web browser to detect workarounds by these organizations and individuals. Mozilla is aware of the sensitive nature of the data and decided that it would need a better way to analyze the data that would not potentially reveal sensitive information. Firefox Origin Telemetry Mozilla developed Firefox Origin Telemetry for that specific use case. The component is built on top of Prio, a "privacy-preserving data collection system developed by Stanford Professor Dan Boneh and PhD candidate Henry Corrigan-Gibbs". Mozilla wants to collect blocklist totals only. We will use Firefox Origin Telemetry to collect counts of the number of sites on which each blocklist rule was active, as well as counts of the number of sites on which the rules were inactive due to one of our compatibility exemptions. By monitoring these statistics over time, we can determine how trackers react to our new protections and discover abuse. Firefox Origin Telemetry needs to be validated before it could land in release versions of Firefox. Mozilla plans to run a test starting with Firefox 69 Nightly. Prio requires that data is collected by two independent parties and Mozilla plans to meet the requirement in release versions. For this initial test, however, Mozilla will run both data collection servers. The collected data falls within the organization's "data collection policies" for pre-release versions of the Firefox web browser. The test runs on 1% of the Firefox Nightly population as that is all that is required to validate the API. Firefox Nightly users who don't want to participate in the experiment may disable Firefox's ability to install and run studies, and to send technical and interaction data to Mozilla. Both options can be configured on the about:preferences#privacy under Firefox Data Collection and Use. Additional information is provided on Mozilla's Security blog. Closing Words Mozilla is open when it comes to the collecting of Telemetry data while companies like Google don't reveal much at all when it comes to that and the experiments that they run. The openness puts Mozilla in a difficult spot as it may be criticized for the decisions it makes; Google is not criticized nearly as much as it is usually tight-lipped in all those regards. Source: Mozilla to run a Firefox Origin Telemetry experiment in development versions of Firefox (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  18. Firefox Add-ons to delete history of active page or domain Delete The Browsing History Of The Current Page and Delete Browsing History Of Domain Of Current Page are two Firefox add-ons that make it very easy to delete certain bits from the Firefox browsing history. Designed by the same developer, the two add-ons are designed to erase the browsing history and cookies of the active page or of an entire site. Firefox users may delete the browsing history and other data at any time in the browser. All that is required for that is to either use Ctrl-Shift-Del to open the clear browsing history tool or open it by going to Menu > Options > Privacy and Security > Clear History under History. While you get some options, e.g. to clear all browsing data that accumulated over the last hour, there is no option to delete data from a single site only using the tool. You may delete individual pages or visited pages using the History, but that won't remove cookie and other site data. Delete The Browsing History Of The Current Page is a streamlined add-on for Firefox that serves just one purpose: erase the current page from Firefox's browsing history. The extension requires access to the browsing history and adds an icon to the Firefox address bar. The icon is a bit difficult to spot but you can check out the screenshot below to see where it is located in the interface. All you have to do now is to activate the icon to remove the browsing history of the active page from the Firefox browsing history. You may assign a shortcut to the extension as well if you prefer to delete the browsing history using a shortcut. Just open Firefox's add-ons manager, about:addons, click on the menu icon, and select the Manage Extension Shortcuts option to do so. Open the Browsing History using Ctrl-Shift-H to verify that the extension works. Delete Browsing History Of Domain Of Current Page works similarly but instead of deleting the browsing history of the active page, it deletes the activity of the domain the page is hosted on. If you visit multiple sites on Ghacks and activate the extension afterward, all Ghacks traces are removed from the browsing history. Closing Words Both Firefox add-ons may be useful to users who prefer to keep their browsing history clean. While that is also possible using private browsing modes or different Firefox profiles, both add a straightforward unobtrusive option to Firefox to do the same. Firefox uses the browsing history to display suggestions to users when they type in the browser's address bar. Visited sites may also land on the browser's New Tab page. Source: Firefox Add-ons to delete history of active page or domain (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  19. Facebook Container 2.0 for Firefox blocks Facebook's third-party site tracking Mozilla announced a big privacy push yesterday on the official site. The organization revealed that Firefox's Tracking Protection would be enabled by default for non-private browser windows for new and existing users to improve user privacy and minimize tracking. Mozilla published an updated version of its Facebook Container add-on for Firefox on June 4, 2019 as well which improves user privacy significantly. Facebook Container was released in March 2018 officially to separate activity on Facebook from other web activity. Mozilla launched a Container test pilot experiment in 2017 to find out if there was interest for a container-based solution to contain sites in containers. The organization launched the Multi-Account Container add-on which gives Firefox users the tools at hand to create containers of their own. Facebook Container is designed specifically for Facebook: official Facebook pages are loaded in a container to make it more difficult for Facebook to generate user profiles using third-party data. The main difference to Multi-Account Container is that Facebook Container prevents sites that are not on the allow list from being loaded in the container. It is more set-and-forget, and does not offer many customization options. A handful of cool add-ons are available by third-parties that extend Firefox's container functionality. The add-on Block sites outside container may be used to block sites from running outside designated containers and to allow sites to be run in multiple containers, Temporary Containers creates and deletes containers automatically while you use the browser. Facebook Container 2.0 for Firefox Facebook Container 2.0 improves the tracking protection of the extension further by targeting Facebook scripts on third-party sites. Today, we’re releasing the latest update for Facebook Container which prevents Facebook from tracking you on other sites that have embedded Facebook capabilities such as the Share and Like buttons on their site. The new version of Facebook Container blocks Facebook scripts on third-party sites by default. Note that the blocking affects only active scripts; the Facebook button here on this site is passive and does not submit any data to Facebook on page load. The new version of Facebook Container works for signed-in and anonymous users. Mozilla notes that the blocking makes it more difficult for Facebook to create so-called Shadow Profiles which contain data about users who are not on Facebook or data that cannot be linked to an existing Facebook user. Firefox adds a purple fence badge to Facebook elements that it blocked on third-party websites. The very same blocking icon is also displayed when you load Facebook pages directly; this time it is displayed in the Firefox address bar. Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger are loaded in the container by default. The coloured underline of the container tab in Firefox's tab bar remains as it has before to indicate that the tab was loaded in a container. Facebook Container does not impact functionality on first-party Facebook websites. All features should work on these sites just like before. The container may limit functionality on third-party sites, especially if these sites embed Facebook content or use Facebook's login system. Closing Words Facebook Container 2.0 improves the effectiveness of the Firefox add-on significantly by taking care of Facebook scripts on third-party websites. Source: Facebook Container 2.0 for Firefox blocks Facebook's third-party site tracking (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  20. What Is Tracking Protection and Why Mozilla Enabled It by Default in Firefox Mozilla has pledged to keep browsing fully private for its users, and with Firefox now becoming the only worthy alternative to Chromium-powered browsers, delivering on these promises is the only way to go. As part of the company’s push for better privacy when browsing the world, Mozilla started the work on tracking protection nearly five years ago. The first implementation of the intuitively-called Tracking Protection feature went live in late 2014 when Mozilla released it for testing as part of Firefox Nightly, essentially making a major step towards blocking websites from tracking users and collecting data from their devices. Tracking Protection was included in builds in the stable channel with the release of Firefox 39, and since then, Mozilla has gradually improved this feature with further enhancements. In fact, Tracking Protection evolved to eventually become a wider set of privacy features bundled into Firefox and simply referred to as “content blocking.” This arsenal of features includes everything from tracker and cookie blockers to a defensive system again cryptominers and fingerprinters. In the existing builds of Firefox, the content blocking set of tools comes down to four different capabilities that can deal with the following categories: Trackers (content, cookies, scripts) Third-party tracking cookies Cryptominers (beginning with Firefox 67) Fingerprinting scripts (beginning with Firefox 67) The Enhanced Tracking Protection is actually a mode that’s offered in Firefox as part of the privacy system mentioned above, and it blocks known third-party tracking cookies based on the Disconnect list. When Enhanced Tracking Protection kicks in during your browsing session, a small shield icon shows up in the address bar, letting you know that a specific tracker is blocked. Clicking this shield reveals more information on the blocked content, but also provides you with additional controls should you want to allow certain parts like cookies. If you want to see the companies that are blocked and their cookies, it all comes down to a few clicks: Shield icon > Cookies There are three categories of cookies displayed here: From this site Tracking cookies Third-party cookies Because Enhanced Tracking Protection blocks third-party cookies that could help collect information about you and your device, Mozilla decided to enable this feature as default for all users as part of the Standard setting in the browser. The Standard protection level blocks known trackers in private windows and third-party tracking cookies and is served as the default setting in Firefox. You can switch to Custom if you want to customize the content that is blocked in the browser. To change the level of tracking protection in Firefox, follow this path: Firefox > Options > Privacy & Security > Browser Privacy > Content Blocking You can read more about setting up content blocking in Firefox in this article. Mozilla says Enhanced Tracking Protection will be activated not only on new installs, but also for existing users. “For new users who install and download Firefox for the first time, Enhanced Tracking Protection will automatically be set on by default as part of the ‘Standard’ setting in the browser. For existing users, we’ll be rolling out Enhanced Tracking Protection by default in the coming months without you having to change a thing,” the company explains. All these changes apply to all desktop versions of Firefox, including on Windows, Linux, and Mac. The latest build of the browser is Firefox 67.0.1, and it is the first major release for version 67. The next major update for the browser is Firefox 68 projected to go live on July 9. Source
  21. Mozilla enables Tracking Protection by default in Firefox Mozilla announced on June 4, 2019 it enabled the privacy feature Tracking Protection for new Firefox installations as of this day, and that the change will be enabled for existing Firefox installations as well this year. Mozilla launched Tracking Protection in Firefox Nightly (desktop and mobile) in late 2014, and enabled the feature for Firefox's private browsing mode with the release of Firefox 39 in 2015. Studies by Mozilla revealed that Tracking Protection decreased page load time by an average of 44% next to improving the privacy of users by blocking tracking cookies. Mozilla relied on the Disconnect list and introduced an option to select different blocklists in late 2015. The organization launched a Tracking Protection Test Pilot experiment in 2016 to gather more data, and included full tracking protection functionality in Firefox 57 in 2017. Full tracking protection meant that Firefox users could enable tracking protection for regular browsing windows directly from the browser's settings. Tracking Protection got another boost in 2018 when Mozilla added mining and fingerprinting protection options to the feature. Mozilla made the decision then and there to push tracking protection in Firefox by improving its visibility. June 4, 2019 marks the next step. Tracking Protection is enabled by default in all new Firefox installations so that third-party tracking cookies are blocked in all browsing windows ; a huge change to the previous default value that blocked trackers (and not cookies) only in private windows. Mozilla plans to make the setting the default for existing Firefox installations in the coming months as well. Firefox users who run the browser already may change the default setting to benefit from the new tracking right away. It is certainly also possible to disable the tracking altogether. Load about:preferences#privacy in the browser's address bar. Select Custom under Content Blocking. Check the "cookies" box to block cookies and trackers going forward. Optional: block trackers in all windows and not only in private windows. Note that this may impact accessibility and functionality of some sites. You can check out Mozilla's content blocking support page for additional information on all options. Mozilla indicates blocked content with a shield icon next to the web address in the browser's main toolbar. A click on it displays what is blocked, an option to turn off blocking for that site, or to check what has been blocked by the browser's protective features. Closing Words It took a long time to get where we are today. Mozilla enabling Tracking Protection for all its users is a welcome step as it improves privacy for all Firefox users. Some may say that limiting tracking is not going far enough, and there is certainly some justification to that as tracking is just one side of the coin that makes Internet users dislike ads. Besides privacy, advertisement is disliked because it slows down the loading of sites, may be disruptive, and may be used in malware and scam campaigns. Still, enabling tracking protection by default is a step in the right direction albeit one that Mozilla should have made years ago. Source: Mozilla enables Tracking Protection by default in Firefox (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  22. Save and Restore Tabs in Firefox with Tab Stash Tab Stash is a browser extension for the Firefox web browser that you may use to save and restore browser tabs at any time. Firefox handles lots of tabs better than Chrome in my opinion as it displays a scroll bar instead of blank unidentifiable tabs. Chrome suffers from phantom tabs as well if you open too many as new tabs are not displayed anymore in the browser's tab bar once you reach the maximum threshold. Still, tab management suffers the more webpages you open in the Firefox web browser. Management is not the only thing that is affected negatively. The more tabs you open the more memory Firefox uses; may not be a problem if you have 32 Gigabytes of RAM but if the device has 4 Gigabytes or less, you may run into memory issues and as a cause of that increased page file use and slow downs. Tab Stash is not the first Firefox extension to introduce tab saving options. Extensions like Set Aside, Session Boss, or Sleep Mode offer similar functionality. Tab Stash Tab Stash introduces a new feature to the Firefox browser that mitigates the issues. It may save all open tabs in a Firefox window to a stash using Firefox's bookmarking system. Imagine you have twenty tabs open in the Firefox web browser and don't need this for the moment anymore. Maybe you started to notice that free RAM is way down and want to free memory up. A click on the Tab Stash icon in the Firefox toolbar saves all open tabs to a new stash. The tabs are hidden and then unloaded in the process and memory is freed as a consequence. Apart from pushing all open tabs to a new stash, it is possible to do so for individual tabs instead. Pinned tabs are excluded from the process. Tab groups saved by the extension may be accessed in Firefox's sidebar or on a new management page. Just right-click on the extension icon and select either option to do so. All tab stashes are listed with date and time, and the titles and favicons of the sites. A click on any listed tab opens it in a new tab in the Firefox browser window without deleting it from the stash. Icons are provided to open and delete individual tabs or all tabs of a stash group, to add all open tabs or the active tab to the selected stash, or to delete a stash without opening any of the listed tabs. The extension supports drag and drop operations to move tabs from one group to another, rename to rename groups, and search functionality to find tabs quickly. Tab Stash Options Tab Stash features two options which you may access on about:addons when you select the extension. The first option defines whether the extension opens the sidebar listing or tab listing when saving new tabs to a stash. The second option handles memory management. Tab Stash hides tabs but keeps them loaded in the background for a while by default. The extension unloads tabs automatically after a while of inactivity. You may change that to unload tabs immediately when they are stashed or to close tabs immediately. Closing Words Tab Stash is a useful browser extension for the Firefox web browser. It works well and improves memory usage when you use it. The extension lacks support for a whitelist to block certain sites from being added to a stash. While you can pin some to protect them from being stashed away, an option to exclude others without pinning them would probably be useful. All in all though a good extension for the Firefox web browser. Source: Save and Restore Tabs in Firefox with Tab Stash (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  23. Mozilla releases Firefox Lockwise (formerly Lockbox) add-on Remember Firefox Lockbox, a password management solution designed to improve the built-in Firefox password manager? The service is still in active development but it is now called Firefox Lockwise instead. Mozilla launched an alpha of Firefox Lockbox back in December 2017 as a Firefox add-on to test and improve password management and online security. The organization released the Lockbox application for iOS in July 2018, and we took a first look at the Android Lockbox app in 2019 when it was released officially. Firefox Lockwise Firefox Lockwise is a password management solution that is available for iOS and Android devices, and now also as a Firefox add-on. The Firefox web browser includes a password manager and users may use it to sync passwords between Firefox installations so that the passwords can be used in all Firefox installations. Firefox Lockwise is an experimental solution that brings Firefox passwords to Android and iOS devices. The system uses Firefox Sync and requires a Firefox Account because of that. The core differences between syncing Firefox passwords between Firefox installations on the desktop and on mobile, and Firefox Lockwise are that Lockwise supports global auto-fill of passwords on the mobile device, and that it comes without any editing options. If things go well, Firefox Lockwise could replace the current password management solution that is built-in to the Firefox browser. For now, it is available as an extra that Firefox users need to install to use. Please note that Lockwise does not work if a master password is set currently. The Lockwise add-on for Firefox replaces the built-in password manager when you install it. When you launch the password manager in Firefox, you get the Lockwise interface instead of the classic interface. The add-on adds an icon to the main Firefox toolbar that you may interact with. The frontend supports two main features currently: It highlights if logins are available for the active site so that you may use these to sign in. It features a search to find passwords. You may copy username and password using the interface. The password management options provide more options than the mobile Lockwise applications. You may use the interface to find, delete, copy, create, and edit passwords. All existing passwords are listed on the left; Lockwise picks up any passwords currently stored by Firefox automatically provided that a master password has not been set. You may select any of these and edit or delete the data set. Other options include launching the linked web address, or copying the username or password to the clipboard of the operating system. Passwords can only be typed manually, there is no option to generate a password based on certain parameters such as length or charset. One difference to the built-in password manager is that Lockwise does not support any import options at the time. Closing Words Lockwise may replace the built-in password manager of the Firefox web browser eventually. For now, it is an option that users may install on their devices. Its main advantage right now is that it adds auto-fill on mobile devices that works system-wide, the disadvantage that it does not support master passwords or imports. Source: Mozilla releases Firefox Lockwise (formerly Lockbox) add-on (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  24. A wave of malware add-ons hit the Mozilla Firefox Extensions Store If you browse the official Mozilla store for Firefox extensions, called Mozilla AMO, you may stumble upon extensions that have names of popular software products or extensions. Extensions like Adobe Flash Player or ublock Origin Pro are listed in the Mozilla AMO store currently. These have no users at the time of writing as they are brand new and they appear to have been created and uploaded by random users (Firefox user xyz). The extensions have no description and they require access to all data for all websites. When you download the extensions, you may notice that the name of the extension does not necessarily match the downloaded file name. The download if ublock origin pro returned a adpbe_flash_player-1.1-fx.xpi file. The actual extensions have different file sizes and their functionality may differ as well. All have in common that they listen to certain user inputs and send these to a third-party web server. The uBlock copycat extension sends form data to a web server, the first Adobe Flash Player copycat that I checked logged all keyboard inputs and did the same. Mozilla will remove the extensions once it notices them. The problem here is that this happens after the fact. The spam extensions may turn up in user searches and they also turn up when you sort by recent updates. Mozilla switched from a "review first, publish second" to a "publish first, review second" model in 2017. Any extension uploaded to Mozilla AMO that passes automated checks is published first with the exception of extensions of the Firefox Recommended Extensions program. Google does the same thing but does not even review extensions manually after publication. The process leads to faster publications but also opens the door for spam and malicious extensions. Closing Words Malicious or spam extensions that use the names of popular extensions or programs are not anything new. Mozilla's AMO store was hit with waves of spam extensions in 2017 and 2018, both happened after Mozilla switched the release process. Google's Chrome Web Store was hit even harder by unwanted extensions in recent years. Chrome's popularity and the fact that Google does not review any extensions manually by default play a role here. While it is easy to spot these particular fake extensions, others may not be as easy to spot. Back in 2017 I suggested Mozilla add a "manual reviewed" batch to extensions to give Firefox users more confidence in the legitimacy of extensions on the official add-ons repository. Source: A wave of malware add-ons hit the Mozilla Firefox Extensions Store (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  25. How to fix Firefox starting with a blank user profile Mozilla released Firefox 67.0 recently and integrated in that release came a -- long-overdue -- feature that assigned unique profiles to each Firefox installation on the system. The change should not have affected existing Firefox installations and profiles on the system but reports are coming in from all over the Internet that this is not the case for some users of the browser. Mozilla's implementation assigns a unique profile to any new Firefox installation. That is a good thing for systems with multiple Firefox installations as you don't have to create and assign profiles for these installations manually anymore using the profile manager or other means. Firefox uses the set profile from that moment on during start so that it is no longer necessary to tell the browser what to do (either manually on start or by using shortcut parameters). Some Firefox users who upgraded the browser to version 67.0 noticed that it started with a blank profile; all their user data, bookmarks, open tabs, passwords, history, and other data appeared gone. The problem that these users experienced is that Firefox assigned a new default profile to the installation; this should not have happened, but it appears to have happened to some. Good news is that the user data is not deleted or gone. All that is needed is to assign the old profile to the installation of Firefox to restore it. You have two main options to do so, one uses the Firefox interface to change the assigned profile, the second loads it using a parameter that you add to the Firefox shortcut. Option 1: Set a default profile for Firefox in the interface Load about:profiles in the Firefox address bar. The page that opens displays all known profiles and the paths assigned to them. The page displays the current profile at the top and any unused profile (that the current Firefox installation does not touch) below. Locate the previous user profile. If you cannot locate it using the folder name, you may use trial and error until you get the right profile, or use open folder to browse the profile folder and check it out. Select "Set as default profile" to assign a new profile to the installation. You may also use "launch profile in a new browser" to check it out without switching to it permanently. Option 2: Adding a profile parameter to the Firefox shortcut The second option forces Firefox to load a specific profile or the profile manager on startup. Windows users right-click on the Firefox shortcut and select Properties from the context menu. The Shortcut tab lists the target, and it is here that you add the instructions. Add the parameter -p -no-remote to the end of the target line (leave a space) forces Firefox to open the profile manager on start that displays a list of all available profiles. The parameter -no-remote lets you run multiple Firefox installations side-by-side. Add the parameter -p profile -no-remote to load a specific profile right away. You need to replace "profile" with the name of the profile. Check about:profiles to find out about the names. Source: How to fix Firefox starting with a blank user profile (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
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