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  1. Firefox users won't be able to sideload extensions starting March 2020, with Firefox 74. Mozilla has announced today plans to discontinue one of the three methods through which extensions can be installed in Firefox. Starting next year, Firefox users won't be able to install extensions by placing an XPI extension file inside a special folder inside a user's Firefox directory. The method, known as sideloading, was initially created to aid developers of desktop apps. In case they wanted to distribute a Firefox extension with their desktop app, the developers could configure the app's installer to drop a Firefox XPI extension file inside the Firefox browser's folder. SIDELOADING REMOVED BECAUSE OF ABUSE This method has been available to Firefox extension developers since the browser's early days. However, today, Mozilla announced plans to discontinue supporting sideloaded extensions, citing security risks. "Sideloaded extensions frequently cause issues for users since they did not explicitly choose to install them and are unable to remove them from the Add-ons Manager," said Caitlin Neiman, Add-ons Community Manager at Mozilla. "This mechanism has also been employed in the past to install malware into Firefox," Neiman said. TWO-PHASE REMOVAL PLAN As a result, Mozilla plans to stop supporting this feature next year in a two-phase plan. The first will take place with the release of Firefox 73 in February 2020. Neiman says Firefox will continue to read sideloaded extensions, but they'll be slowly converted into normal add-ons inside a user's Firefox profile, and made available in the browser's Add-ons section. By March 2020, with the release of Firefox 74, Mozilla plans to completely remove the ability to sideload an extension. By that point, Mozilla hopes that all sideloaded extensions will be moved inside users' Add-ons section. Through the move, Mozilla also hopes to help clean up some Firefox installations where malware authors were secretly sideloading extensions behind users' backs. Since these extensions will now show up in the Add-ons sections, users will be able to remove any extensions they don't need or don't remember installing. TWO METHODS OF LOADING EXTENSIONS REMAIN Further, Mozilla's blog post on the matter today also serves as a notice for extension developers, who will have to update their extensions and make them available through another installation mechanism. There are currently two other ways through which developers can distribute extensions, and through which users can install them. The first and the most widely known is by installing extensions from the official addons.mozilla.org (AMO) portal. Extensions listed here are verified by Mozilla, so most are relatively safe, albeit the security checks aren't 100% sure to catch all malicious code. The second involves using the "Install Add-on From File" option in Firefox's Add-ons section. Users have to manually download a Firefox XPI extension file, visit the Add-ons section, and then use the "Install Add-on From File" option to load the extension in their browser. This option is usually employed for loading extensions that have to handle sensitive corporate data inside enterprise environments, and can't be distributed via the AMO portal. There was also a fourth method of loading extensions inside Firefox, but this was removed in September 2018, with the release of Firefox 62. This involved modifying Windows Registry keys to load custom extensions with Firefox installations. This, too, was abused by malware devs, and Mozilla decided to remove it. Source: Mozilla to stop supporting sideloaded extensions in Firefox (via ZDNet)
  2. Prevent Facebook from tracking you around the web. The Facebook Container extension for Firefox helps you take control and isolate your web activity from Facebook. What does it do? Facebook Container works by isolating your Facebook identity into a separate container that makes it harder for Facebook to track your visits to other websites with third-party cookies. How does it work? Installing this extension closes your Facebook tabs, deletes your Facebook cookies, and logs you out of Facebook. The next time you navigate to Facebook it will load in a new blue colored browser tab (the “Container”). You can log in and use Facebook normally when in the Facebook Container. If you click on a non-Facebook link or navigate to a non-Facebook website in the URL bar, these pages will load outside of the container. Clicking Facebook Share buttons on other browser tabs will load them within the Facebook Container. You should know that using these buttons passes information to Facebook about the website that you shared from. Which website features will not function? Because you will be logged into Facebook only in the Container, embedded Facebook comments and Like buttons in tabs outside the Facebook Container will not work. This prevents Facebook from associating information about your activity on websites outside of Facebook to your Facebook identity. In addition, websites that allow you to create an account or log in using your Facebook credentials will generally not work properly. Because this extension is designed to separate Facebook use from use of other websites, this behavior is expected. What does Facebook Container NOT protect against? It is important to know that this extension doesn’t prevent Facebook from mishandling the data that it already has, or permitted others to obtain, about you. Facebook still will have access to everything that you do while you are on facebook.com, including your Facebook comments, photo uploads, likes, any data you share with Facebook connected apps, etc. Rather than stop using a service you find valuable, we think you should have tools to limit what data others can obtain. This extension focuses on limiting Facebook tracking, but other ad networks may try to correlate your Facebook activities with your regular browsing. In addition to this extension, you can change your Facebook settings, use Private Browsing, enable Tracking Protection, block third-party cookies, and/or use Firefox Multi-Account Containers extension to further limit tracking. What data does Mozilla receive from this extension? Mozilla does not collect data from your use of the Facebook Container extension. We do receive the number of times the extension is installed or removed. Learn more Other Containers Facebook Container leverages the Containers feature that is already built in to Firefox. When you enable Facebook Container, you may also see Containers named Personal, Work, Shopping, and Banking while you browse. If you wish to use multiple Containers, you’ll have the best user experience if you install the Firefox Multi-Account Containers extension. Learn more about Containers on our support site. Known Issues When Facebook is open and you navigate to another website using the same tab (by entering an address, doing a search, or clicking a bookmark), the new website will be loaded outside of the Container and you will not be able to navigate back to Facebook using the back button in the browser. NOTE: If you are a Multi-Account Containers user who has already assigned Facebook to a Container, this extension will not work. In an effort to preserve your existing Container set up and logins, this add-on will not include the additional protection to keep other sites out of your Facebook Container. If you would like this additional protection, first unassign facebook.com in the Multi-Account Container extension, and then install this extension. What version of Firefox do I need for this? This extension works with Firefox 57 and higher on Desktop. Note that it does not work on other browsers and it does not work on Firefox for mobile. If you believe you are using Firefox 57+, but the install page is telling you that you are not on a supported browser, you can try installing by selecting or copying and pasting this link. (This may be occurring because you have set a preference or installed an extension that causes your browser to obscure its user agent for privacy or other reasons.) How does this compare to the Firefox Multi-Account Containers extension? Facebook Container specifically isolates Facebook and works automatically. Firefox Multi-Account Containers is a more general extension that allows you to create containers and determine which sites open in each container. You can use Multi-Account Containers to create a container for Facebook and assign facebook.com to it. Multi-Account Containers will then make sure to only open facebook.com in the Facebook Container. However, unlike Facebook Container, Multi-Account Containers doesn’t prevent you from opening non-Facebook sites in your Facebook Container. So users of Multi-Account Containers need to take a bit extra care to make sure they leave the Facebook Container when navigating to other sites. In addition, Facebook Container assigns some Facebook-owned sites like Instagram and Messenger to the Facebook Container. With Multi-Account Containers, you will have to assign these in addition to facebook.com. Facebook Container also deletes Facebook cookies from your other containers on install and when you restart the browser, to clean up any potential Facebook trackers. Multi-Account Containers does not do that for you. Report Issues If you come across any issues with this extension, please let us know by filing an issue here. Thank you! ----- Release Notes: This release also asks for permission to clear recent browsing history, so we can improve its protection and its integration with Multi-Account Containers. 83ae8bf fix #183: Can't search Google/other sites with string "fbclid". Add-on's Permissions: This add-on can: Access your data for all websites Clear recent browsing history, cookies, and related data Monitor extension usage and manage themes Access browser tabs ----- Homepage/Download https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/facebook-container/
  3. YouTube is an excellent resource for video content, but it is also plagued by spam, trolls, and lots of video content that you dislike. The trending and recommended video sections on the YouTube homepage, and the suggestions that YouTube lists in the sidebar on video pages may contain content that you would never watch. We talked about Video Blocker before here in Ghacks We reviewed the Video Blocker extension for Chrome back in 2014 and found it to be an effective weapon against videos on YouTube that you don't want to see or be exposed to. YouTube Video Blocker for Firefox The Firefox add-on Video Blocker by the same author was updated yesterday. It pretty much does what the Chrome extension does but since the last review dates back more than three years already, I figured it would be interesting to publish a review of the Firefox add-on as well. The developer of the extension suggests using the new YouTube layout with the extension as the extension is less reliable if the old design is used. The extension adds an icon to Firefox's toolbar installation which you interact with. It does not add icons or buttons to the YouTube page unlike other extensions for YouTube. The decision means that it is a bit less comfortable to use. A click on the Video Blocker icon opens its interface. You may use it to add new channels, keywords or wildcards to the blocklist. Channels -- Enter an exact channel name to block it on YouTube. The channel won't be displayed anymore in trending, recommendations and other sections on YouTube. Wildcard -- This blocks channels as well but does not require the exact channel name. All channels that match the keyword you enter will be blocked. Keywords -- This blocks individual videos and comments that match the entered keyword. So, to block a channel, you'd select channels or wildcards from the menu, type the full or partial channel name in the text field, and select add to add the new rule to the blocklist. To block specific video titles, e.g., prank, football, star wars, spoiler, let's play, you'd select type the name, select keyword and hit the add button. You manage the blocklist in the options. You find all blocked channels, wildcards and keywords listed there, a search to find items quickly if you have many, and an option to delete an item from the blocklist. You may add items in the options as well which may be quicker than using the frontend for that. Also, there is an option to export the list and import it so that you may use it on multiple devices without having to create it from scratch each time. The blocking worked well for the most part. I tried it in the newest Firefox Stable release, and the extension would block videos or channels from being shown on YouTube's front page. It did not block videos or channels in search, however. A search for a blocked channel would still display it and its videos. Ghacks.net
  4. View Image is a browser extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox that adds a "view image" button to Google Images so that users can click on it to display the image directly in the browser. Google removed the view image button from its image search engine Google Images recently after the company came to an agreement with Getty Images. The button loads the image that is displayed directly. This gives users options to look at it more closely and to download it to the local device that they use. While it is still possible to to do after the removal of the button on Google Images -- users can still right-click on the image and select "open image in new tab" or a similar option -- view image made the whole process easier and many Internet users probably don't know that they can open the image through the context menu. We suggest that you use a different image search engine such as Startpage instead. You can view images directly on Startpage and images do get opened through a proxy so that your IP address is not revealed to the site hosting the image. View Image extension View Image is a new browser extension for Firefox and Chrome that adds the button to Google Images again. The extension should work in compatible browsers such as Opera or Vivaldi as well, and the functionality of it is identical. Closing Words Google users who used "view images" in the past regularly to load images in a standalone tab may use the View Image browser extension to restore the functionality. Most users don't need it probably though as it is still possible to right-click on images to load them individually. The extension does require access to your browsing data on all Google sites and the code is available on GitHub. Ghacks.net
  5. 3P Request Blocker is a new add-on for the Firefox web browser designed to block all third-party requests by default in the browser. The description sounds a lot like NoScript, and while the core functionality is the same, both extensions offer features that the other does not provide. Third-party requests are all requests that a site makes that load content from third-party domains. The connection can be a subdomain of the domain or an unrelated domain name. While some third-party requests are required for a site's functionality, think of content being loaded from a content delivery network, other requests are used to display advertisement, social media buttons, tracking scripts, or other often undesirable content. 3P Request Blocker for Firefox 3P Request Blocker adds an icon to the Firefox main toolbar that you interact with to control the loading of third-party resources on the active website you are on. A click on the icon displays all third-party connections the page tried to make. Any connection that is not checked there has been blocked. You can allow connections by checking the sites and clicking on the apply button afterward. Sites that you allow are added to the extension's whitelist by default. You can enable the setting of temporary permissions in the preferences which switches the checkbox layout to a radio button layout with block, allow and temp buttons for each site listed by the extension. 3D Request Blocker offers extensive options which you access with a click on the i-icon or from Firefox's about:addons page. Here is a quick overview of the available groups: Whitelist -- add, edit or remove whitelisted sites. Comes with import and export functionality. Filter -- lots of options to ignore, block and change functionality. JavaScript -- options to block JavaScript and use a JavaScript whitelist. Popup/icon -- cosmetic changes to the icon, for example, adding the domain count to the icon. Misc -- Change the language and enable temporary permissions The Filter menu The Filter menu deserves a closer look as it offers quite a few useful features. Here is a short list of options that it makes available: Do not block same domain's subdomain. Block Punycode domains. Block unencrypted requests (HTTP or ws). Block abnormal requests methods (allow only GET and POST). Block WebSocket protocol. Block HTTP or HTTPS on non-standard ports. Block requests that include your keywords in URL. Block resource types and ignore the whitelist doing so (beacon, csp_report, font, ping, object, object_subrequest, media, other). Block MIME types and ignore whitelist to prevent downloads (video, audio, PDF, Microsoft Office, LibreOffice, Applications). Block tracking/ads, Internet IP address and tracking/ads patterns automatically and don't show them on the menu. The filter menu lists several interesting options which improve security while you browse the Internet. Closing Words 3P Request Blocker is a powerful new content blocker for Firefox that users of RequestPolicy or Policeman may want to consider switching to as the extensions are no longer compatible with stable versions of Firefox. The extension is compatible with other content blockers, e.g. uBlock Origin or AdBlock Plus. Ghacks.net
  6. The Firefox web browser ships with an add-on management interface that users may load directly by typing about:addons in the browser's address bar, or by using menus of the browser the page is linked from. The management interface comes with several pages that separate extensions from themes, plugins, services, scripts and other "add-ons" that users may add to Firefox in one way or another. There is also a Get Add-ons page that lists add-on suggestions to users. It is making the rounds right now connects to Google Analytics when users access it. Nicolas Petton posted a message on Twitter on July 11, 2017 that Mozilla was using Google Analytics on the about:addons page. The message was picked up on social news sites such as Reddit and Hacker News shortly thereafter. Some users voiced concerned about the integration of Google Analytics in Firefox (on this one page), stating that a browser that advertises with being privacy-focused should not do that. Mozilla employees provided detailed information on the implementation on various sites, including on GitHub where a issue was raised by a concerned user. According to Mozilla employee Matthew Riley MacPherson, known as tofumatt on GitHub, about:addons loads an iFrame with content hosted on a Mozilla website which contains the Google Analytics script. Mozilla has a special agreement with Google which means that the data is aggregated and anonymised. Another Mozilla employee, who goes by the handle potch, added on Hacker News that Mozilla negotiated a special deal with Google that only a "subset of data" is collected, and that the "data is only used for statistical purposes". When asked why Mozilla was not using self-hosted analytics scripts like Piwik, Matthew replied that hosting their own analytics product -- Piwik in particular -- was more work for "a worse product". Matthew suggested to disable the tracking for users who have opted out of Telemetry tracking in the Firefox browser. This has not been implemented yet, and it is unclear whether this is going to happen. Ultimately, this seems to be Mozilla's stance on the issue right now according to Matthew: We won't be discontinuing our usage of analytics for our web properties, but I do think it would be nice to consider easy opt-outs for users like yourself who clearly do not want to participate in analytics sharing. The maker of uBlock Origin posted an interesting observation in the thread as well. The legacy version of uBlock Origin can block the requests on internal Firefox pages, while the WebExtension version cannot. Legacy uBlock Origin can block the network request to GA. However webext-hybrid uBO as per Network pane in dev tools does not block it. Same for pure webext Ghostery, the network request to GA was not blocked, again as per Network pane in dev tools. What is concerning is that both uBO webext-hybrid and Ghostery report the network request to GA as being blocked, while it is really not as per Network pane in dev tools. It's as if the order to block/redirect the network request was silently ignored by the webRequest API, and this causes webext-based blockers to incorrectly and misleadingly report to users what is really happening internally, GA was not really blocked on about:addons, but there is no way for the webext blockers to know this and report properly to users. The Tor browser developers, a browser that is a modified version of Firefox for added security and privacy, have voiced concerns as well. Disallow 'about:addons' unless the extensions directory is volatile, because regardless of what Mozilla PR says about respecting privacy, loading Google Analytics in a page that gets loaded as an IFRAME as part of an 'about:' internal page, is anything but. Tip: Firefox users who don't use Get Add-ons can disable the functionality in the following way: Load about:config?filter=extensions.webservice.discoverURL Double-click on the preference, and remove all characters so that the value is blank. Restart Firefox. See how to block automatic connections that Firefox makes for additional information, or the list of Firefox security and privacy preferences. Closing Words It is clear that there are multiple points of view on the issue at hand: Some users think that Firefox should never connect to third-parties without explicit user consent. Others think that the issue is blown out of proportion, as it is limited to a single page in the browser. Mozilla acknowledges that tracking is taking place, confirms that it has a special deal in place with Google, and that it considers opting users out that have opted out of Telemetry tracking. My personal stance on the matter is that I think it is unwise to integrate anything that connects back to Google in the Firefox browser. Unwise because it torpedos Mozilla's stance on privacy in the eyes of some Firefox users. Article source Others source: Discussions on reddit Firefox tracks users with Google Analytics in the add-on settings : linux Firefox secretly tracks users with Google Analytics in the add-on settings : programming
  7. The NoScript Firefox extension provides extra protection for Firefox, Flock, Seamonkey and other mozilla-based browsers: this free, open source add-on allows JavaScript, Java and Flash and other plugins to be executed only by trusted web sites of your choice (e.g. your online bank), and provides the most powerful Anti-XSS protection available in a browser. NoScript's unique whitelist based pre-emptive script blocking approach prevents exploitation of security vulnerabilities (known and even not known yet!) with no loss of functionality... You can enable JavaScript, Java and plugin execution for sites you trust with a simple left-click on the NoScript status bar icon (look at the picture), or using the contextual menu, for easier operation in popup statusbar-less windows. Screenshot: Links: Homepage Changelog Download
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