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  1. Google’s Chrome browser has come under increasing scrutiny lately, especially after its Manifest V3 plans announced earlier this year which cause some ad blockers to break. Now privacy advocates are honing in on a nascent web API called getInstalledRelatedApps, which has been in development since 2015 and available to experiment with since Chrome 59’s launch in 2017. Described on GitHub, the API lets developers determine if their native app is installed on your device. Of course, there are benefits that will improve the experience when people have web and native apps from the same developer installed on their device. It will prevent potentially annoying consequences such as receiving the same notification twice. So what’s the problem? As an article on highly-esteemed tech site The Register points out, the purpose of this API “isn’t really about users so much as web and app publishers.” In fact, if it isn’t handled properly, it could be a major risk to people’s security and privacy. “If done incorrectly, there’s a good chance of it being open to abuse–and with that come some pretty significant privacy and security related issues,” says security researcher Sean Wright. Google Chrome privacy: Identifying factors The privacy issue stems from the fact that the API would allow sites to potentially see which apps you have installed on your device. “Seeing what you have installed allows them to form a picture of what you do,” says Wright. At the same time, it could impact your security: “Knowing which apps are installed can help attackers perform targeted phishing or to target apps with known vulnerabilities,” Wright warns. It looks like Google will officially support this API in a future version of Chrome, according to a statement of intent posted by Google engineer Rayan Kanso at the end of November. In the post, he conceded that it would not help Chrome users directly although he said it “indirectly benefits them through improved web experiences. Google is aware that its new move could have consequences. This week, Google engineer Yoav Weiss expressed concerns, highlighting the API’s risks. He pointed out that “the collection of bits of answers” to “Is app X installed” could reveal enough about a user to uniquely identify them. I have reached out to Google for further comment and will update this story when it arrives. A risk to Google Chrome users’ security and privacy: What to do As the Register’s Thomas Claburn states, it shows “how user concerns, like privacy, don’t necessarily drive how software gets made.” Indeed, concerns such as security and privacy often take a back seat, right behind functionality. “There has to be a balance, but unfortunately this often seems tipped in favor of functionality,” says Wright. “It’s putting the company before users. This really frustrates me because without your users, there would be no company.” Sound familiar? That’s because it is. Increasingly often, users are being overlooked when they really should be at the heart of every product. But there is something you can do. The only way to fight back against changes that impact privacy is to look for alternatives that do not affect you in the same way. Many companies are hitting back against the likes of Google and Facebook, by providing services that respect their users’ privacy and security. Firefox is currently the browser of choice for those who are concerned, and many Chrome users have already moved over. At the same time, smaller browsers such as Brave are quickly gaining a strong reputation, so it might be a good time to try something new. Source
  2. Firefox 71/68.3esr: Profile issues and bugs during upgrade On December 3, 2019 Mozilla’s developers released the next major version 71 as well as the 68.3esr of the Firefox browser. The update does not work for all users. Some users are claiming damaged/deleted profiles and lost addons. Here is a short overview of the known issues. In the blog post Firefox 71 and 68.3.0esr released I mentioned the new versions for the Firefox browser and the changes. The update to Firefox 71 portable (32 bit) worked fine for me – I could not find any errors during a quick test. But shortly after the publication of the article I got the first feedback about issues from my German blog readers. I’ll compil it here together – maybe there’s some feedback, if these are just single cases or if there are bigger problems. Firefox 68.3esr: Profile damaged during upgrade Some users have experienced issues during upgrade with Firefox ESR. There are reports, that user profile is corrupted or missing, when upgrading to version 68.3. German blog reader Andy writes here: Hmm, within the company the default profile of the 68.3 ESR was damaged after upgrade. There was a message with “new profile format” and then everything was broken. Using Firefox.exe -P I was able to restore the old profile, so half as bad. I will roll it out during operation but definitely not 😞 German blog reader deoroller noticed, that the policies.json file was gone after upgrading to the new Firefox 68.3esr. After the update, the distribution folder with policies.json was gone. I’m not sure, if it’s related to Firefox 68.3esr or Firefox 71 (but I got an additional comment, that also Firefox 71 has the same issue). Also German blog reader reported a lost file policies.json and missing addons. Great, Mozilla, Profile bricked, addons gone, and policies.json no longer found. The portable version is affected to the same extent Luckily I did a test before rolling out I haven’t found anything on the Internet yet in a quick search. Is there anyone else affected by corrupted profiles or missing addons? Source: Firefox 71/68.3esr: Profile issues and bugs during upgrade (Born's Tech and Windows World)
  3. Mozilla removes all Avast Firefox extensions If you search for Avast or AVG on the official Mozilla Add-ons website, you may notice that no results by these companies are returned. Neither Avast Online Security or SafePrice, nor AVG Online Security or SafePrice, are returned by the Store currently even though these extensions exist. It appears that Mozilla removed these extensions from its Store. When you try to open one of the Store URLs of Avast or AVG extensions you get a "Oops! We can't find that page" error message. The extensions are not blacklisted by Mozilla. Blacklisted extensions are put on a blocklist -- which is publicly available here -- and removed from user browsers as a consequence. Avast and AVG extensions have been removed but are not blocked which means that the extensions remain installed in Firefox browsers for the time being. Mozilla added several dozen extensions for Firefox to the blocklist on December 2, 2019 which collected user data without disclosure or consent, but Avast's extensions are not on the list. What happened? Wladimir Palant, creator of AdBlock Plus, published an analysis of Avast extensions in late October 2018 on his personal site. He discovered that Avast's extension transmitted data to Avast that provided Avast with browsing history information. The data that the extension submits exceeded what is necessary to function according to Palant. The extensions include the full address of the page, the page title, referer, and other data in the request. Data is submitted when pages are opened but also when tabs are switched. On search pages, every single link on the page is submitted as well. The data collected here goes far beyond merely exposing the sites that you visit and your search history. Tracking tab and window identifiers as well as your actions allows Avast to create a nearly precise reconstruction of your browsing behavior: how many tabs do you have open, what websites do you visit and when, how much time do you spend reading/watching the contents, what do you click there and when do you switch to another tab. All that is connected to a number of attributes allowing Avast to recognize you reliably, even a unique user identifier. Palant concluded that the collecting of data was not an oversight. The company states in its privacy policy that it uses anonymized Clickstream Data for "cross-product direct marketing, cross-product development, and third-party trend analytics. Mozilla is in talks with Avast currently according to Wladimir Palant. Possible scenarios are that Mozilla will add the extensions to the blocklist that it maintains or will request that Avast makes changes to the extensions before they are reinstated. The extensions are still available for Google Chrome at the time of writing. Source: Mozilla removes all Avast Firefox extensions (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  4. Mozilla launches Firefox Private Network VPN for $4.99 per month Mozilla continues to expand its products and services beyond the Firefox web browser. Firefox Private Network was launched as the first product of the revamped Test Pilot program that Mozilla put on ice earlier this year. Mozilla launched it for Firefox users in the United States at the time and as a browser proxy only. The system works similarly to third-party VPN solutions for Firefox in that it protects user data and privacy by routing traffic through Private Network servers. Firefox users needed to install the Firefox Private Network extension to make use of the provided browser-level protection. Today, Mozilla Mozilla unveiled the next step in the process. Still only available for users from the United States, the organization launched a full Firefox-branded VPN service. The VPN service is only available for Windows 10 at the time of writing and the $4.99 per month is an introductory offer. Mozilla promises to release versions for Android and iOS, Chromebook, Mac and Linux in the future. Firefox Private Network customers who pay for the full protection get access to about 30 regions and may use the service on up to five devices. The VPN service is provided by Mullvad behind the scenes and uses WireGuard, a new VPN protocol. The underlying policy of Mullvad is that we never store any activity logs of any kind. We strongly believe in having a minimal data retention policy because we want you to remain anonymous. Mullvad has a strict no logging policy and accounts use a number system that keeps track of the remaining hours of service only. The service supports several payment methods including traditional methods that may reveal information and systems that don't reveal those information, e.g. cash transactions or Bitcoin. The full-device VPN protects the entire device whereas the browser extension only Firefox activity. A free option is provided and even though Mozilla changed some of its options, is not very practicable to use. The core reason is that one-hour passes are assigned to the free user and that those are limited to 12 currently (opposed to 4 three-hour passes previously). Means: even if you connect to the service for just a minute, you will waste one of the available hour passes. The price of $4.99 is an introductory price that is available during the beta. Mozilla has not revealed the price that it will charger after the beta ends but it is very likely that it will charge more than $4.99 for a monthly subscription. Mullvad charges about $5.50 (€5 Euro) per month for one month of access to the service. Most VPN services, e.g. NordVPN, offer discounts when customers subscribe for longer periods. Whether that is the case for Firefox Private Network accounts remains to be seen. The $4.99 put Mozilla's offering somewhere in the middle when it comes to price. There are cheaper VPN providers out there but also several that charge more than $5 per month. Closing Words Mozilla plans to run the beta in the United States "into early 2020" to expand the service to other regions "soon thereafter". Interested users may join a waitlist to be notified when the service becomes available in their region. Mozilla has an advantage over other VPN providers; the organization may integrate the service in one form or another in the Firefox web browser to advertise the paid version to users directly. Mozilla did not reveal whether it plans to do that but it could help the organization get away with slightly higher prices than competing offers. Source: Mozilla launches Firefox Private Network VPN for $4.99 per month (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  5. Firefox 72 may block fingerprinters by default Firefox 72, an upcoming version of the web browser, may block so-called fingerprinters by default. Mozilla started to integrate and push Tracking Protection in the Firefox web browser in 2019. Designed to reduce tracking on the Internet, Tracking Protection blocks known trackers (e.g. social media trackers), cross-site tracking cookies, and other tracking related or undesirable content. Standard tracking protection functionality is enabled in Firefox by default. Users of the web browser may adjust the protective feature by setting it to strict or custom. Strict and custom, the two other available presets, include protection against fingerprinters already. Starting in Firefox 72, Firefox may block fingerprinters by default as well as part of the standard preset. Mozilla added the blocking of fingerprinters to Firefox 72 Nightly and plans to test the integration. Based on the outcome of the test, fingerprinting protection may become a standard blocking feature in Firefox 72 Stable or be reverted. Compatibility issues play a big part in the assessment of the feature. Some, legitimate, sites may break or functionality on legitimate sites may break, if fingerprinting is enabled. If the breakage is too severe, Mozilla may revert the decision. Fingerprinting refers to methods that use data that is provided by the browser or user activity for tracking. All web browser reveal some information when sites are loaded. Information may include the user's location in the world, language settings, screen resolution, and other data. Sites may run scripts to gather more data. The main idea behind the data gathering is to generate a fingerprint based on the data to identify the user when the same or other sites are visited. Mozilla explains the concept on its wiki website: Fingerprinting is used to identify a user or user agent by the set of properties of the browser, the device, or the network, rather than by setting state on the device. For example, a party which infers the set of fonts a user has installed on their device and collects this information alongside other device information would be considered to participate in browser fingerprinting. Tip: check out our master list of privacy tests that you may run to find out what your browser reveals about you. Firefox users may control the browser's tracking protection feature in the following way: Load about:preferences#privacy in the browser's address bar. Switch between standard, strict and custom enhanced tracking protection levels. Custom allows users to configure protective features individually. Firefox 72 is scheduled to be released on January 7, 2020. Closing Words Fingerprinting protection is a welcome addition to Firefox's arsenal of tracking protections. Users can enable the protection already in Firefox 70 Stable, e.g. by switching to custom protections and enabling the option. Source: Firefox 72 may block fingerprinters by default (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  6. uBlock Origin for Firefox addresses new first-party tracking method The latest version of the content blocker uBlock Origin for the Mozilla Firefox web browser includes a new feature to detect a new first-party tracking method that some sites have started to use recently. The issue was first reported ten days ago by user Aeris on the project's official GitHub page. Some sites started to use canonical name records (CNAMEs) to bypass filters used in content blockers. First-party resources, e.g. a subdomain, are not blocked usuall unless they are known to only serve advertisement. The main issue from a content blocking perspective is that identification and detection is difficult. The extensions would have to uncloak alias hostnames in order to provide the user with information and the ability to do something about it. Raymond Hill, the developer of uBlock Origin, found a way to address the new first-party tracking method in Mozilla Firefox. Side-note: Why only Firefox? Because Mozilla has created DNS APIs that may be used to expose the CNAME while Google has not. For now, it is not possible to protect against this form of tracking in Google Chrome. Hill writes "Best to assume it can't be fixed on Chromium if it does not support the proper API". Firefox users who upgrade to the latest version of uBlock Origin, may notice a new permission request (Access IP address and hostname information). This is required to unlock access to the DNS API in the browser extension. Firefox users who run the extension need to do the following to set things up properly on their end: Open the Settings of the extension, e.g. from about:addons or by clicking on the dashboard icon in the uBlock Origin interface. Check the "I am an advanced user" box on the first page that opens. Activate the settings icon next to the option to open the advanced settings. Change the value of the parameter cnameAliasList to *. The change runs the actual hostnames through the filtering that uBlock Origin applies again. The log highlights these in blue. Network requests for which the actual hostname differs from the original hostname will be replayed through uBO's filtering engine using the actual hostname. [..] Regardless, uBO is now equipped to deal with 3rd-party disguised as 1st-party as far as Firefox's browser.dns allows it. The setting of the wildcard means that the process is done for any hostname that differs; this works but it means that a certain number of network requests are processed twice by uBlock Origin. The next step is for me to pick a cogent way for filter list maintainers to be able to tell uBO to uncloak specific hostnames, as doing this by default for all hostnames is not a good idea -- as this could cause a huge amount of network requests to be evaluated twice with no benefit for basic users (default settings/lists) while having to incur a pointless overhead -- for example when it concerned CDNs which are often aliased to the site using them. Hill wants to switch to using a maintained list of known offenders that uBlock Origin (UMatrix will support this as well) will process while leaving any other hostname untouched. Closing Words Firefox users may change the configuration to make sure that they are protected against this new form of tracking. Chromium users cannot because the browser's APIs for extensions does not have the capabilities at the time of writing. Source: uBlock Origin for Firefox addresses new first-party tracking method (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  7. Firefox 72: dynamic scrollbars based on page color Mozilla plans to adapt the color of the scrollbar in the Firefox web browser to the background color of the visited webpage in Firefox 72. Dark themes are en vogue currently; operating systems, web browsers, and other applications get dark theme options that users may enable to switch from the previously favored light design to a black design. For many, it seems like a personal preference more than anything else, but dark themes offer some advantages over lighter themes including better battery performance on mobile devices. Firefox users may enable a dark theme in the browser on the Menu > Customize page of the web browser; this paints the browser UI in darker colors. Certain websites, e.g. DuckDuckGo or Startpage, support dark themes as well that users may enable. One of the issues that Firefox users experienced with dark themed sites in the browser was that the scrollbar area was not adapted accordingly. The scrollbar used a light design regardless of website or selected Firefox theme; this felt distracting to many users. Some used custom CSS styles to paint scrollbars in a dark color, others endured the light area on websites visited in the Firefox web browser. Starting with Firefox 72, Firefox will adapt the color of the scrollbar based on the background color of the visited page. Users of the browser who prefer a darker theme will notice that the color of the scrollbar area shines in a darker color as well and that page position indicator is darker than before as well. The screenshot above highlights the change. The window on top shows the new scrollbar color scheme on the dark homepage of the search engine DuckDuckGo. Sites that don't use standards when it comes to dark themes or modes may not show the correct scrollbar colors after all; this is the case for Reddit which, according to a comment on the official bug listing on Mozilla's bug tracking site, sets the dark background "on a child element of the scrollable container" so that Firefox cannot detect the dark theme usage. Firefox 72 Stable will be released on January 7, 2020 according to the release schedule. Source: Firefox 72: dynamic scrollbars based on page color (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  8. Firefox 71: new about:config interface lands Mozilla plans to launch the redesigned about:config interface in Firefox 71, the next stable version of the web browser. The internal page about:config provides Firefox users with access to an advanced set of configuration parameters. The regular options, accessible via Firefox Menu > Options, list only a small fraction of available configuration options. Tip: check out the Ghacks user.js project to find out more about many of the advanced parameters. The pre-Firefox 71 about:config interface is based on XUL, a language that Mozilla deprecated some time ago in favor of web standards such as HMTL5 and JavaScript. The new interface is based on JavaScript and HTML, and will be launched in Firefox 71 Stable if the schedule holds. We looked at the first version of the new interface back in January 2019 and noticed back then that some functionality was missing when compared to the classic about:config interface. To name a few: no deep linking, no sorting, no listing of all preferences, no double-click actions, and less items per page than previously. The final version addresses some of the issues but not all. The final version of the interface supports double-click actions and the display of all preferences that are visible (use * in the search field). Users may also discard changes with a tap on the Esc-key. Some issues, including the removal of deep links and sorting, remain, and Mozilla announced previously that it won't fix those. A quick scan of the Ghacks database returned 48 articles with deep links to Firefox preferences. The instructions won't work anymore when the changed interface lands. While users may look at the filter url to search for the preference name manually, it is far from ideal considering that we are just one website that used the deep linking option to point to about:config preferences directly. Mozilla's initial plan was to release the redesigned interface in Firefox 67 but things got delayed along the way. The organization plans to launch the redesigned interface in Firefox 71. The web browser is scheduled for a release on December 3, 2019 according to the release schedule. Closing words Mozilla addressed some of the issues of the redesigned about:config interface and it seems to have concentrated its efforts on the issues that would have affected the most number of users. It is unfortunate that some features won't be supported; sorting was useful as you could use it to list all modified preferences easily on the screen among other things. Source: Firefox 71: new about:config interface lands (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  9. How to restore the green lock icon in Firefox's address bar Mozilla's Firefox web browser used to display a green padlock icon in the browser's address bar when secure sites were opened in the browser. Additionally, the browser would display extended information for sites with EV (Extended Validation) certificates. Mozilla launched a change recently in Firefox that changed the green padlock icon to a gray icon and removed the EV certificate information from the browser entirely. The organization revealed plans in August 2019 to change the information that Firefox displays in the address bar in regards to sites using HTTPS and implemented the change in Firefox 70.0 released recently. Firefox users who open a secure site in the browser see a gray padlock icon in the address bar in Firefox 70 and newer versions of the browser. Sites with EV certificates are not highlighted in any way anymore as well. The main idea behind the changes -- Mozilla is not the only browser developer that made it -- is that the majority of Internet sites are using HTTPS on today's Internet and that the number will increase even more in the coming years. HTTPS is the new default and the reasoning is that sites that don't support it should be highlighted instead of sites that support it. One of the issues with the approach is that generations of Internet users have been trained to look for these locks in the address bar to verify that the connection is secure. While that is still possible as the gray padlock icon indicates a secure connection, some may prefer to get the green icon restored instead as it provides a better visual indicator. Making Firefox`s padlock icon green again Firefox comes with built-in configuration options to restore the green padlock icon. Here is what you need to do: Load about:config in the Firefox address bar. Confirm that you will be careful if a warning screen is displayed. Use the search at the top to find security.secure_connection_icon_color_gray. Toggle the preference so that its value is FALSE. The change is applied immediately, a browser restart is not required. You should notice that all sites that use secure connections are displayed with a green padlock icon again in the Firefox address bar. To restore the gray icon, set the value of the preference to TRUE instead. Restoring Extended Validation Certificate information in Firefox Firefox users may enable the display of EV certificate information in Firefox's address bar as well; this is also done using the method described above: Visit the about:config page again. Search for security.identityblock.show_extended_validation this time. Set the preference to TRUE to enable the display of extended validation information in the browser's address bar. The change is applied immediately. If you don't see it right away try to refresh the site in question. You may set the value of the preference to FALSE to restore the default. Display not secure for sites that don't use HTTPS Firefox displays a crossed-out padlock icon in the address bar by default when a site that does not use HTTPS (or uses it incorrectly) is visited. You may add the "not secure" text to the address bar to further highlight the status of the connection. Visit about:config in the Firefox address bar. Search for security.insecure_connection_text.enabled. Set the value of the preference to TRUE to enable "not secure" or FALSE to disable it. Bonus: If you want to apply the change to private browsing connections as well, search for security.insecure_connection_text.pbmode.enabled and set the value accordingly. Source: How to restore the green lock icon in Firefox's address bar (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  10. Actively exploited bug in fully updated Firefox is sending users into a tizzy Fraudulent tech-support sites cause Firefox to freeze while displaying scary message. Enlarge Jérôme Segura 104 with 63 posters participating, including story author Scammers are actively exploiting a bug in Firefox that causes the browser to lock up after displaying a message warning the computer is running a pirated version of Windows that has been hacked. The message, which appears without any user interaction upon visiting a site, reads: Please stop and do not close the PC... The registry key of your computer is locked. Why did we block your computer? The Windows registry key is illegal. The Windows desktop is using pirated software. The Window desktop sends viruses over the Internet. This Windows desktop is hacked. We block this computer for your safety. The message then advises the person to call a toll-free number in the next five minutes or face having the computer disabled. Below is a GIF showing the attack flow: Jérôme Segura The attack works on both Windows and Mac versions of the open source browser. The only way to close the window is to force-close the entire browser using either the Windows task manager or the Force Close function in macOS. Even then, Firefox will reopen previously open tabs, resulting in an endless loop. (Update: as a commenter pointed out, restore tabs is turned off by default.) To resolve the problem, users must force-close Firefox and then, immediately upon restarting it, quickly close the tab of the scammer site before it has time to load. Jérôme Segura, head of threat intelligence at security provider Malwarebytes, said the Firefox bug is being exploited by several sites, including d2o1sv4d11x6bc[.]cloudfront[.]net/firefox/index.html. He said the offending code on the site was written specifically to target the browser flaw. Enlarge Jérôme Segura On Monday, Segura reported the bug to the Bugzilla forum. He said he has since received word Mozilla is actively working on a fix. Firefox representatives couldn't immediately provide information on the status of the bug. Firefox is hardly alone in having bugs that cause the browsers to hang indefinitely while displaying a confusing or scary page. Chrome has had its share of similar flaws, which have also been exploited in the wild. Google developers have since fixed both of them. The exploit spotted by Segura is a common subclass of browser lock attacks. This subclass relies on authentication popups. Earlier this year, Mozilla shipped a comprehensive fix for these types of attacks some 12 years after being reported. Chrome and other browsers have also been vulnerable to this variety of attacks. Segura said he's aware of a separate Firefox browser lock bug that remains unfixed two years after it was reported. Although it was actively exploited in the past, Segura said, he hasn't seen any recent attacks targeting the flaw. For many people, it's not clear what to do when a browser becomes unresponsive while displaying a scary or threatening message. The most important thing to do is to remain calm and not make any sudden response. Force quitting the browser can be helpful, but as Segura has found, that fix is far from ideal since the offending site can reload once the browser is restarted. Whatever else people may do, they should never call the phone number displayed. Source: Actively exploited bug in fully updated Firefox is sending users into a tizzy (Ars Technica)
  11. In a move to fight spam and improve the health of the web, Mozilla will hide notification popups -- a feature nobody asked for. In a move to fight spam and improve the health of the web, Firefox will hide those annoying notification popups by default starting next year, with the release of Firefox 72, in January 2020, ZDNet has learned from a Mozilla engineer. The move comes after Mozilla ran an experiment back in April this year to see how users interacted with notifications, and also looked at different ways of blocking notifications from being too intrusive. Usage stats showed that the vast majority (97%) of Firefox users dismissed notifications, or chose to block a website from showing notifications at all. As a result, Mozilla engineers have decided to hide the notification popup that drops down from Firefox's URL bar, starting with Firefox 72. If a website shows a notification, the popup will be hidden by default, and an icon added to the URL bar instead. Firefox will then animate the icon using a wiggle effect to let the user know there's a notification subscription popup available, but the popup won't be displayed until the user clicks the icon. We've recorded a GIF of this new routine, here. Firefox Nightly versions already come with this notification popup blocker active, but the stable Firefox branch is scheduled to get it next January. The Notification API, and how it all went south Notification popups were added to modern browsers in Chrome 22 (September 2012) and Firefox 22 (June 2013), with the addition of the Notifications API. Their initial purpose was to allow websites to display notifications, and alert users of new content, after users closed a website's tab. For example, you subscribed to Slack notifications, have a conversation, and close the Slack browser tab. The Notifications API allowed websites to show a popup when you received a new message, or there was new content available in your (now-closed) Slack tab. News sites, such as ZDNet, also use notifications to alert users when new articles are out. Social networks and instant messaging clients use it to show alerts for trending topics or new messages. The feature has its use cases, and can be extremely useful, but only when used by legitimate organizations. Fraudsters and spammers love notifications But over the past few years, unscrupulous groups have realized that the Notifications API provides an ideal method of pushing spam to users, even after users left the malicious site. Cybercrime groups have been luring users on random sites, and showing notification popups. If users accidentally clicked on the wrong button and subscribed to one of these shady sites, then they'd be pestered with all sorts of nasty popups. Malicious threat actors have been seen using notifications (also known as subscription spam) to push links to shady products, links to malware downloads, or run-of-the-mill pill or Viagra spam [1, 2]. "Notification spam is quite common, especially via certain types of publishers and malvertising in general," Jérôme Segura, malware analyst at Malwarebytes, told ZDNet in an interview today. "Since most browsers can block ad popups or popunders, push notifications have been greatly abused," Segura added. "In fact, I even question the merits of such a 'feature' in the first place or at least some serious oversight in how it could be implemented. "Years ago, people would come to you about annoying ad notifications popping up on their machine, and that was usually due to adware programs [installed locally]. But these days, I would say this has been largely replaced by notification spam, which is very easy to fall for with some basic social engineering," he added. "In comparison to cleaning up an infected machine, it's actually much easier to remove already allowed notifications, but most people just don't know how," Segura said. And browser makers, too, have realized that the feature can be quite annoying, and downright dangerous. In recent years, most browsers have added settings to block websites from showing notifications. However, Mozilla is the first browser vendor to block notification popups by default. "I think Mozilla's decision is good for the health of the web," Segura told ZDNet. You can unsubscribe from receiving notifications from sites via any browser's settings section. Most browsers support a search feature in the settings section. Users can use it to search for the "notifications" options and block or unsubscribe from the shady sites. Source
  12. 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)
  13. A look at Firefox's upcoming Picture-in-Picture mode Mozilla revealed that it was working on a Picture-in-Picture mode for the Firefox web browser back in February. Designed to play videos in a small overlay on the screen, Picture-in-Picture mode allows users of the browser to navigate between tabs and sites without interfering with the playing video using the detached video player. The original plan was to introduce the mode in Firefox 68 but development has been delayed. Current plans aim for a release in the next stable Windows version of the Firefox web browser, Firefox 71. Firefox 71 will be released on December 3, 2019 if the schedule does not change. Linux and Mac versions of Firefox may see a release in Firefox 72 which will be released on January 7, 2020. Note: The Firefox preference media.videocontrols.picture-in-picture.enabled determines whether Picture-in-Picture mode is enabled. Firefox users may enable the feature already in the browser (there may still be bugs). Firefox Picture-in-Picture mode Firefox adds a small blue icon to supported videos that displays "Picture-in-Picture" when hovered over. A click on the icon opens the video in the Picture-in-Picture interface and displays a placeholder on the original site. It reads "This video is playing in Picture-in-Picture mode". A right-click may also display the option to load the video in Picture-in-Picture mode. The Picture-in-Picture overlay can be moved around on the screen independently and also resized. The interface is not entirely independent but you may change tabs and use the browser normally. The only thing that affects the video is the tab it originated on. If you reload it or navigate away, the video is closed automatically. The Picture-in-Picture interface is bare bones. It features a play/pause toggle button and another for restoring the video in its original location in Firefox. The only other option that is provided is to close the Picture-in-Picture interface by activating the close button. Controls, e.g. to change the volume of the video, change the quality or make other changes, are missing. It is possible to use the controls on the video's original site, e.g. to use the slider to jump to a different position or to change the volume. Here is an overview of all Picture-in-Picture preferences in Firefox: media.videocontrols.picture-in-picture.enabled -- The main preference to enable or disable the feature. media.videocontrols.picture-in-picture.video-toggle.always-show -- Determines whether the PIP icon is shown always (Firefox does not show it for certain videos, e.g. those without an audio track or that are too small in size). media.videocontrols.picture-in-picture.video-toggle.enabled -- Whether to show the toggle to enable PIP mode in Firefox. media.videocontrols.picture-in-picture.video-toggle.flyout-enabled -- Animation when activating the mode. media.videocontrols.picture-in-picture.video-toggle.flyout-wait-ms -- Wait time for flyout mode. Closing words The main benefit of using Picture-in-Picture mode is that users may watch the video unhindered while doing something else in the browser. The PIP window is set to be on top which means that it remains visible even if you navigate to another tab. Firefox users who like to watch videos while doing something else in the browser may find the mode useful the most. Some Firefox users may prefer to play videos in a second browser window, especially if the display offers enough room to display two windows on the screen. Source: A look at Firefox's upcoming Picture-in-Picture mode (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  14. Search for webpages in your history and bookmarks efficiently with the Memex extension for Firefox and Chrome Memex is an interesting web browser add-on that is designed specifically for powerusers. Before you ask, no it's not a meme generator. It is a Vannevar Bush inspired bookmarking/local search engine of sorts that you can use to quickly find webpages that you visited in the past. The extension is available for Firefox and Chrome. When you install the add-on, it may appear to be requesting a scary amount of permissions. But they are required for Memex to work. The extension has a visual tutorial which explains how it works; the GIFs that it uses are a bit too speedy for my liking. Once you have installed the add-on, click on its icon (the brain) to bring up a menu and get a few options here. The go to dashboard takes you to the main interface of the extension and the main way you make use of its functionality. Memex indexes pages to make search more powerful in the browser. You need to remember that it saves only the content of individual pages; it is not enough to bookmark the homepage of a site, e.g. Ghacks, to get all articles indexed. The add-on comes with a handy import feature to import pages from the browsing history. For now let's go back to the menu. The "Star this page" option is similar to bookmarking but adds the page to Memex's database, and tags are used to identify starred pages quickly. Just select a page and tag it with a relevant word and it will become usable, or should I say searchable by Memex. You can add multiple tags for a page and collections are like folders to improve organization of webpages. Another way to use these options By default, Memex should add a sidebar and it should be visible when you mouse over to the right edge of the screen. There are buttons here that let you open Memex's dashboard, perform a search, star pages, add tags and perform other actions. There is one important feature which is present in the sidebar which is not in the menu: Notes. The name is a bit misleading as it is an annotation tool. Memex allows you to annotate on any web page. To do so, click the notes icon and type something. For e.g. If you're an Amazon page, you could type something like "This could be an interesting gift for Max's birthday." So, you'll remember why you saved the page and why. You can also highlight text content like you would do with a marker. If you have used Microsoft Edge you may be familiar with these options. When you select text on a web-page, a tooltip should appear and you can use it to link to the highlighted text for reference. When you click on it in the dashboard, you will be taken to the page with the highlighted content visible. Memex also supports keyboard shortcuts. Sidebar - r Star Page - c Add tag - t Add to collections - u Let's star a page, tag it and add it to a collection to demonstrate how this all works and how it benefits you. Say, you want to add the Ghacks homepage to the database. You can visit the page and click on the star icon to bookmark it in Memex. Click on the tag button to add a tag, like Windows Software, Linux apps, or technology. The collection button can be used to add the page to a folder like Tech or Blogs. Note: I found the sidebar to be buggy at times, and used the menu options instead. Now, back to the dashboard. To the left you have your collections, which are sort of like folders for your bookmarks. In the center you have the search box. How does the search work? The add-on can search for the keyword in various ways. Basically it can find any page you have bookmarked or tagged or added to a collection. In addition to this, it can also find pages which you annotated or highlighted text on. It supports full-text search of the web history and bookmarks, and supports filters next to that. You can use the filter option to narrow down the search further by Date - Select a date range (say, October 27, 2019 - October 28, 2019) Tags - Remember how we added tags? Use the same keyword here. Domains- narrow down search by URL (example: ghacks.net) Don't have any of these at hand? Memex can still find the page by the text from titles and URLs. Assuming you added a few pages to the database, perform a search using a relevant word and you should be able to find the page instantly. The best part is that the extension is meant to be an "offline-first" one. It is also open source, and has a good privacy policy. The add-on stores the data on your computer, so your data is yours. You can optionally backup your data on your computer, or to the cloud service of your choice from the settings menu. Memex has a pro version that is completely optional. All it does is automatically backup the data every 15 minutes and supports cross-device sync. Source: Search for webpages in your history and bookmarks efficiently with the Memex extension for Firefox and Chrome (gHacks)
  15. Cloudflare releases Privacy Pass 2.0 extension Internet company Cloudflare launched the Privacy Pass extension for Firefox and Chrome back in 2017 to reduce or even eliminate the number of captchas that Internet users are exposed to. Captchas may be displayed on websites as a form of verification to ensure that the visiting user is a human being and not a bot. Cloudflare operates one of the latest networks on the Internet that many sites use for protection against DoS attacks and for various other functions. If you connect to the Tor network or VPN networks regularly, you may have noticed that the number of captchas that you are need to solve to access sites increases significantly over regular Internet connections. One of the main issues is that the regular system does not take into account previously solved captchas. If you visited a site and solved a captcha, you may still be asked to verify another one on another site. Privacy Pass has been created in collaboration with researchers from several universities to bypass captchas without sacrificing privacy in the process. Privacy Pass, in a nutshell, allows clients to provide proof of trust without revealing where and when the trust was provided. The aim of the protocol is then to allow anyone to prove they are trusted by a server, without that server being able to track the user via the trust that was assigned. Basically, what happens is that users get tokens in advance that may be used later on to bypass captures that would otherwise be displayed. A simple visit to a captcha page could fill up tokens to 30 which would then be used automatically when compatible pages are encountered that require additional verification. Cloudflare launched Privacy Pass 2.0 for Firefox and Chrome on October 28, 2019. The new version makes the extension easier to use, integrates a new service provider (non Cloudflare), and improves the technology used by the extension. The, rather technical, post on the Cloudflare blog provides detailed information on the new version. One interesting new feature is the unlocking of the extension for other services. Cloudflare revealed that a new version of the extension will roll out soon that supports the provider hCaptcha. Internet users who solve a captcha provided by the provider will receive tokens if they run Privacy Pass that will be used automatically on other sites that use the provider's captcha solution. Closing Words The new version of the extension won't convince users who distrust Cloudflare to give it a try. Users who run into captchas, especially those by Cloudflare, regularly, may benefit from it as it should reduce the number of captchas that they are exposed to. Source: Cloudflare releases Privacy Pass 2.0 extension (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  16. Good news: new Firefox for Android will support extensions Mozilla is working on a new mobile browser for Android. Firefox Preview, that is the current name of the browser to distinguish it from the soon-to-be-replaced Firefox for Android, was released to Google Play in mid-2019. The browser will replace the current stable version of Firefox for Android eventually; users of that version may have noticed that it was moved to the ESR branch already to free up resources for Firefox Preview development. Several features of Firefox Preview were not set in stone when Mozilla began development of the mobile browser for Android. One of these features, support for browser extensions, was one of those features. The removal of the feature would cut one of the distinguishing features of the web browser as most Android browsers don't support browser extensions. There was also the likelihood that the decision to ignore extensions would have irritated existing users who use extensions in the current version of the browser. Mozilla announced on October 23, 2019 that Firefox Preview will support extensions. The browser, which is based on the new GeckoView engine, will support WebExtensions just like Desktop versions of the Firefox web browser do. We’re happy to confirm that GeckoView is currently building support for extensions through the WebExtensions API. This feature will be available in Firefox Preview, and we are looking forward to offering a great experience for both mobile users and developers. Support for extension APIs won't match the current level of support in the classic version of Firefox for Android. Mozilla plans to focus its efforts on introducing support for APIs that extensions of the recommended extensions program require to function, and here specifically on APIs for extensions that "work well on mobile and cover a variety of utilities and features". Popular browser extensions such as uBlock Origin, NoScript Security Suite, LastPass Password Manager, Enhancer for YouTube, or Firefox Multi-Account Containers are all recommended extensions. Whether all of these will be fully supported when Firefox Preview will be released as a final version remains to be seen. Mozilla expects to introduce official support for extensions in Firefox Preview in the first half of 2020. Android users interested in Firefox Preview may download the recent version from Google Play. The mobile browser can be installed next to Firefox for Android. Closing Words Extensions support is an important feature of Firefox for Android and it is good to see that Mozilla will implement support for -- some -- APIs in the upcoming version of Firefox as well. The initial release will support only some APIs and not all that Firefox for Android or the desktop versions of Firefox support. While that is disappointing as it means that a number of extensions won't work in Firefox Preview, it is certainly better than not supporting extensions at all. It remains to be seen which extensions will be supported ultimately by the new mobile browser. Source: Good news: new Firefox for Android will support extensions (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  17. Firefox 70.0 is the new stable version of the Firefox web browser as of October 22, 2019. Mozilla releases updates for all channels of the Firefox web browser at the same time; this means that besides Firefox 70, Firefox Beta and Dev are upgraded to version 71 and Firefox Nightly is upgraded to version 72. Firefox ESR versions can only be upgraded to Firefox ESR 68.2 as the 60.x branch is no longer supported. Executive Summary The release marks the end of the Firefox 60.x ESR branch. ESR versions need to update to the 68.x branch. Huge page load improvements on all systems (especially Mac OS X). Firefox 70.0 download and update Updates are made available on October 22, 2019. We publish the release overview early usually to provide users with information prior to the release. Once released, you may run a manual check for updates in Firefox by selecting Menu > Help > About Firefox. Firefox opens a new window that runs a check for update and either suggests to download and install it, or does to automatically. The following pages list direct downloads for supported Firefox channels. Firefox Stable download Firefox Beta download Nightly download Firefox ESR download Firefox 70.0 Changes Article Source: https://www.ghacks.net/2019/10/22/firefox-70-0-release-information/ https://hacks.mozilla.org/2019/10/firefox-70-a-bountiful-release-for-all/
  18. Mozilla working on native Firefox translation feature Mozilla is working on integrating a native translation feature in the organization's Firefox web browser that does not rely on cloud services. One of the advantages that the Chrome browser has over Firefox is that it comes with integrated translate functionality. Mozilla did work on translation features in Firefox and integrated several services, including Yandex Translate and Google Translate in Firefox. The functionality is not enabled by default; one of the main reasons for that is that Mozilla would have to pay the companies that operate the translation services for API use. While Firefox users may get an API key from these services to integrate it in the browser, it is not something that is advertised by Mozilla. Firefox users who require translate functionality install browser extensions such as To Google Translate or Translate Man. The native integration of machine translation functionality in Firefox is part of Project Bergamot, a research project funded by the European Union. The project's consortium is a joint venture of the University of Edinburgh, University of Sheffield, Charles University, University of Tartu and Mozilla. A main focus of the project is to improve client-side machine translations in web browsers to improve privacy and make the solution viable for sectors that can't use cloud-based translation services. The focus of the 3-year Bergamot project is addition and improvement of client-side machine translation in a web browser. This shift to client-side translation empowers citizens to preserve their privacy and increases the uptake of language technologies in Europe in sectors that require confidentiality. Mozilla plans to integrate the project into the Firefox web browser to bring native client-side translation functionality to the browser. A development milestone has been reached recently when the team managed to integrate a basic version of the translation engine in the Firefox web browser (not yet publicly available). A demonstration video has been published on YouTube that shows the client-side translation of a German text into English. The translate functionality uses the same interfaces as the already integrated translate services in Firefox. Mozilla Firefox detects the language of the page and suggests to translate it into a different language based on the user's preference. A click on the translate button starts the process that is handled solely on then local machine. Closing words Project Bergamot is an ongoing project at the time but if the joined research team manages to create a solution that runs machine translations natively and does not lag behind in functionality or performance to cloud-based solutions, it would eliminate one of the shortcomings of the Firefox web browser without sacrificing privacy or costing money that Mozilla would have to pay to third-parties for API uses. Source: Mozilla working on native Firefox translation feature (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  19. Germany's cyber-security agency recommends Firefox as most secure browser Germany's BSI tested Firefox, Chrome, IE, and Edge. Firefox was only browser to pass all minimum requirements for mandatory security features. Image: Mozilla Firefox is the only browser that received top marks in a recent audit carried out by Germany's cyber-security agency -- the German Federal Office for Information Security (or the Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik -- BSI). The BSI tested Mozilla Firefox 68 (ESR), Google Chrome 76, Microsoft Internet Explorer 11, and Microsoft Edge 44. The tests did not include other browsers like Safari, Brave, Opera, or Vivaldi. The audit was carried out using rules detailed in a guideline for "modern secure browsers" that the BSI published last month, in September 2019. The BSI normally uses this guide to advise government agencies and companies from the private sector on what browsers are safe to use. The German cyber-security agency published a first secure browser guideline in 2017, but reviewed and updated the specification over the summer. The BSI updated its guide to account for improved security measures added to modern browsers, such as HSTS, SRI, CSP 2.0, telemetry handling, and improved certificate handling mechanisms. According to the BSI's new guide, to be considered "secure," a modern browser must satisfy these minimum requirements: - Must support TLS - Must have a list of trusted certificates- Must support extended validation (EV) certificates - Must verify loaded certificates against a Certification Revocation List (CRL) or an Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) - The browser must use icons or color highlights to show when communications to a remote server is encrypted or in plaintext- Connections to remote websites running on expired certificates must be allowed only after specific user approval - Must support HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) (RFC 6797) - Must support Same Origin Policy (SOP)- Must support Content Security Policy (CSP) 2.0 - Must support Sub-resource integrity (SRI) - Must support automatic updates- Must support a separate update mechanism for crucial browser components and extensions - Browser updates must be signed and verifiable - Browser's password manager must store passwords in an encrypted form- Access to the browser's built-in password vault must be allowed only after the user has entered a master password - User must be able to delete passwords from the browser's password manager - Users must be able to block or delete cookie files- Users must be able to block or delete autocomplete history - Users must be able to block or delete browsing history - Organization admins must be able to configure or block browsers from sending telemetry/usage data- Browsers must support a mechanism to check for harmful content/URLs - Browsers should let organizations run locally-stored URL blacklists - Must support a settings section where users can enable/disable plugins, extensions, or JavaScript- Browsers must be able to import centrally-created configuration settings, ideal for wide-scale enterprise deployments - Must allow admins to disable cloud-based profile synchronization features - Must run after its initialization with minimal rights in the operating system- Must support sandboxing. All browser components must be isolated from each other and the operating system. Communication between the isolated components may only take place via defined interfaces. Direct access to resources of isolated components must not be possible. - Web pages need to be isolated from each other, ideally in the form of stand-alone processes. Thread-level isolation is also allowed. - Browsers must be coded using programming languages that support stack and heap memory protections- Browser vendor must provide security updates no longer than 21 days after the public disclosure of a security flaw. If the primary browser vendor fails to provide a security update, organizations must move to a new browser. - Browsers must use OS memory protections like Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) or Data Execution Prevention (DEP).- Organization administrators must be able to regulate or block the installation of unsanctioned add-ons/extensions. According to the BSI, Firefox is the only browser to support all the above requirements. Areas where other browser failed include: - Lack of support for a master password mechanism (Chrome, IE, Edge) - No built-in update mechanism (IE) - No option to block telemetry collection (Chrome, IE, Edge) - No SOP (Same Origin Policy) support (IE) - No CSP (Content Security Policy) support (IE) - No SRI (Subresource Integrity) support (IE) - No support for browser profiles, different configurations (IE, Edge) - Lack of organizational transparency (Chrome, IE, Edge) Source: Germany's cyber-security agency recommends Firefox as most secure browser
  20. Firefox 69.0.3 fixes download issues Firefox 69.0.3 will be released to the Stable channel later today. The new version of the web browser addresses two issues, a download issue and a Yahoo Mail issue. Mozilla released Firefox 69.0.2 on October 4, 2019 and became aware of an issue affecting downloads for some users shortly thereafter. Users affected by the issue could not download any files using the browser; Firefox would place a 0-byte file in the download folder but would not download the actual file. Mozilla's investigation revealed that the issue was limited to Firefox on Windows 10 devices and there only if parental controls were enabled. Mozilla implemented checks for parental control software as part of the DNS over HTTPS rollout in the United States. The organization disabled the new feature for devices with parental controls to avoid impacting the functionality of the software. Background updates to Firefox 69.0.2 were throttled as a consequence and work on a patch began. Mozilla acknowledged the issue in the Firefox 69.0.2 release notes stating that "File downloads may not work for Windows 10 users with Parental Controls enabled ". Firefox 69.0.3 Firefox 69.0.3 fixes the download issue for affected users. Interested users can check out the official bug on the official bug tracking website to find out more about the issue and the patch. Firefox 69.0.3 addresses another issue. Yahoo users who use the browser to access Yahoo Mail may have received download prompts when they clicked on emails in the Yahoo Mail web interface. Firefox's downloads manager would list the file "as.php" as the downloaded file on affected systems. Fixed download errors for Windows 10 users with Parental Controls enabled (bug 1586228) Fixed Yahoo mail users being prompted to download files when clicking on emails (bug 1582848) Firefox 69.0.3's official release date is October 10, 2019. Firefox users affected by the issue may run a manual check for updates once the browser is released officially to upgrade to the new version immediately. All that needs to be done for that is to click on Menu > Help > About Firefox. Closing words Mozilla fixed both issues in less than a week's time. Affected users may have downgraded Firefox to an older version to mitigate the issue for the time being. Firefox 69.0.3 fixes the issue and users should consider upgrading to the new version. Source: Firefox 69.0.3 fixes download issues (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  21. Link Gopher is a Firefox add-on that can extract links from webpages Most websites have tons of links in their pages. Some of these may be used as internal links to pages within the same website while others are outbound links to other resources. If you want to find out how many links a page has or even extract links from a webpage, it could be a difficult job to handle this manually. There could be hundreds of URLs. The Firefox add-on Link Gopher can do this for you as it was written specifically for extracting links from webpages. The add-on adds an icon to the Firefox toolbar when you install it that displays a light interface that consists of just 3 buttons. Extract all Links Extract all Links by Filters About Link Gopher (links to the official website). Extract all Links Go to any web page and click on the "Extract all Links" option and Link Gopher will open a new tab in Firefox that contains all the links that were found on the web page. All of these links are clickable so you can use them directly from the browser. Internal links and links to other resources are displayed under Links. Scroll down to the end of the page to see "Domains", i.e., links to the top-level domain of other websites. The list of the links follows the browser's colour policy to distinguish visited URLs. You can also save the links to a document manually if required. This can be useful for webmasters or if you're on a web page with several download links. It was handy during my tests as it could pull all the direct download links from web pages and saved me a few extra clicks now and then. Another example when I found the add-on to be particularly helpful was when I used it to find the "source link" in articles on other websites. Many writers and admins make it a practice nowadays to hide outbound links within words used in the article. It is good for SEO but the reader may find it difficult to spot the link, especially if it is of the same colour as the rest of the text. Extract all Links by Filters This option may appear quite similar to the normal extractor, but it's quite different. When you click on this option (from a source web page), you will see a search box that accepts keywords, e.g. If you only want to see links from gHacks, type "ghacks" and click on the ok button. Link Gopher will filter the links from the page, and you will only see the links which have the word "ghacks" in the URLs. Sadly, Link Gopher does not offer any customization whatsoever. I'd have preferred to have an option to open links in a new tab by default, well nothing a control + click (or middle-click) won't do. That being said, the add-on is meant to do one job and it excels at what it does. Link Gopher is open source, but I couldn't find the source of version 2 of the add-on. Mozilla has marked it as a recommended add-on which is a good sign. Source: Link Gopher is a Firefox add-on that can extract links from webpages (gHacks)
  22. Mozilla says in an update to the Firefox 69.0.2 changelog that downloading files from the Internet may not work for Windows 10 users who have the Parental Controls feature toggled on and are part of a family group. The problem is described on Reddit [1, 2, 3] and Mozilla's bug tracker in an issue reported three days ago, on October 4, saying that all web downloads are failing when using Firefox on Windows 10. Don't update to 69.0.2 or 70.0b11+ Following these reports and the bug tracker issue, Mozilla published a support page where it advises Windows 10 users to refrain from updating their Firefox installation to 6.9.0.2—the web browser's latest stable version released last Thursday—or Beta 70.0b11+ until a fix is available. "There is a known issue in Firefox 69.0.2 and Beta 70.0b11+ that causes downloads to fail in Windows 10 when you have parental controls or content restrictions on," says Mozilla. "If you haven't already updated to 69.0.2, please avoid doing so until we've shipped a fix." While a patched version is not yet available in the Stable or Beta channels, the releases affected by this issue, Mozilla recommends users that, "in the meantime, you can work around this problem by turning off content restrictions [..]." This can be done using a step by step procedure described in this Microsoft support article and designed to remove members from a family group via the family.microsoft.com portal: 1. Go to family.microsoft.com. 2. Sign in with your Microsoft account, then: • To remove a child, scroll down and select Manage my child's profile info, select the child, select Remove consent for this child's account, and confirm. Then, go back to your family’s page, and under the child’s name, select More options > Remove from family, and confirm. • To remove a child because they’re now an adult, or if an adult account has been misclassified as a child account, verify the account. • To remove an adult, under that person's name, select More options > Remove from family, and confirm. • To leave the family group if you’re the only adult in the family, remove all children first, then find your name, select Leave family, and confirm. You must be over the statutory age to remove yourself. • If you're incorrectly listed as a child when you're an adult, see How to change a birthdate on a Microsoft account. Users who have already installed the impacted Firefox versions will have to downgrade to a previous stable version that is not affected by this bug (69.0.1 or 68.0.2 might do the trick according to some user reports). Fix coming in a future release While Mozilla can use hotfixes to patch some browser issues, it seems that this one might have to wait to get fixed as part of future releases in the Firefox stable and beta channels. "A patch to the parental controls service that makes it return that downloads are allowed instead of throwing seems to fix the problem," says Mozilla Platform Engineer Matt Howell. "That would require a new release; I'm not sure what our current hotfix capabilities are, but I would guess that anything we could do to fix this would fall outside of them." Until then, Firefox users with Windows 10 devices can either leave any family groups they're in or downgrade to a previous release not yet affected by this bug. Source
  23. Firefox 69.0.2 is out, here is what is new Mozilla released Firefox 69.0.2 today; the stable channel update fixes two potential crashes in the web browser and fixes the detection of Parental Controls on Windows 10. The update is already available via the web browser's built-in automatic updating functionality. Firefox users should receive update notifications when they run the browser. Users who want to speed up the process -- it may take a bit of time before the browser runs the check for updates -- may run a manual check instead. To do that, select Menu > Help > About Firefox. The browser displays the installed version and runs an update check. The new version is either downloaded and installed automatically or manually depending on the browser's preferences. Firefox 69.0.2 is the second minor update of Firefox 69.0. Mozilla released Firefox 69.0 on September 3, 2019 and pushed out the first minor update, Firefox 69.0.1, on September 18, 2019. Firefox 69.0.2 Firefox 69.0.2 is a bug fix release that addresses two crashes in the browser. Fixed a crash when editing files on Office 365 websites -- The first issue affected Office 365. Mozilla's release notes highlight that the issue could crash the tab when editing files on Office 365 websites. Some reports suggest that the tab could also crash when navigating pages on Office 365 websites. Firefox 69.0.2 fixes the issue, tabs should not crash anymore on Office 365 sites. [see bug 1579858] Fixed a Linux-only crash when changing the playback speed while watching YouTube video -- The second crash affected Firefox on Linux only. Firefox users who changed the playback speed on YouTube while watching videos on Linux could encounter freezes or tab crashes when doing so. [see bug 1582222] Fixed detection of the Windows 10 Parental Controls feature being enabled -- Mozilla fixed the detection of the Parental Controls feature on Windows 10 devices. The issue affected the rollout of the DNS over HTTPS feature in the United States that started in September. Firefox was designed to keep DNS over HTTPS disabled if Parental Controls were used, and the bug affected that logic. [see bug 1584613] Firefox users who are affected by any of the issues may want to upgrade the web browser immediately to resolve the crashes. There is no hurry for users not affected by the issues to install the update as the fixes will be part of the Firefox 70 release on October 22, 2019. Source: Firefox 69.0.2 is out, here is what is new (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  24. FoxyTab is a highly customizable tab manager extension for Firefox There is no shortage of tab managers for Firefox but FoxyTab is one that goes all out for customization. It's a very user-friendly extensions that adds nifty little options that you may find handy to improve your workflow in one way or another. Tip: check out our Firefox Tab Mastery guide for getting the most out of the browser. Once installed, the add-on's icon is placed on the toolbar and will immediately display a badge; it represents the number of tabs that are currently open in the browser. You can optionally disable this or change the badge/text colour from the extension's options. Clicking on the add-on's icon will only let you access the options or recount the tabs. The real interface of FoxyTab is in the tab bar. Or to be more precise, right-click on the tab bar and you will see a new context menu called FoxyTab. These are the options that are available in the context menu. Duplicate Tab Close Duplicate Tabs Close Tabs to the Left Merge all Windows Close Other Windows Save Tab as PDF (Not on macOS or pre-Firefox 56) Create Desktop shortcut Copy Bookmark Host Sort Reload Most of these are self-explanatory so we'll focus on the ones which are special. The Copy option lets you copy the tab title, URL, or tab title and URL. You can also use it to copy all URLs from open tabs or all the Titles, or both. There are even options to copy URLs and Titles from the tabs to the right or the left of the current tab so that every possible use case should be covered by these options (except for selecting individual tabs). These options save you a ton of time and can be used to save an entire session to a text document (very handy if you are a OneTab user). In addition to those, you can also use the Copy IP option to find out the IP address of a website really quickly. You can define your own parameters for the Custom Copy menu using these placeholders: {ip} {title} {url} {date} {time} \n \t Note: You'll need to refresh a tab if you loaded it with the undo closed tab option to find the IP. The Bookmark option lets you save tabs to the Left/Right of the current tab. This can be a great way to save a ton of pages with a single-click of the mouse and it complements Firefox "bookmark all" option nicely. The Host menu is for closing all the tabs, other than the one that is in view, or the one that you right-clicked upon to access FoxyTab. Sort Tabs is one that I found to be a rather niche option. If you want to sort the list of tabs in ascending or descending order of the URL or Title, well you can do that. I did like the move options which can be used to move tabs to the left or right in a new window. It also works with private windows without hitches. The Reload menu has 3 settings: reload all tabs, or just the ones to the left or right, and reload tab every few minutes (can be customized). That could save the F5 key, for e.g. when you are waiting for the end of an auction on eBay or the time an item becomes available online. You can disable or enable any of the context menu items from the add-ons preferences to create a cleaner menu that focuses on the options that you need. Speaking of which, You can import and export the add-ons preferences. I recommend using this one to backup your settings in case you want to refresh Firefox or use different installations or profiles. The Hidden options FoxyTab has a few extra settings that you can choose to enable such as a Clock, Date or Month. You can customize these, and even use multiple clocks with different time zones if you want to. Firefox Multi-Account Container add-on users can configure FoxyTab to open domains in specific containers. Closing Words FoxyTab is a helper extension for Firefox that may improve productivity by extending Firefox's tab-based capabilities. Whether it is an option for you depends on your Internet usage and how you use the Firefox web browser. Source: FoxyTab is a highly customizable tab manager extension for Firefox (gHacks)
  25. How to import tabs from Chrome to Firefox and vice versa So, you have decided to switch from Chrome to Firefox, or maybe it's the other way around. The problem is you have a lot of tabs opened, and you can't abandon the session. Or, you use both web browsers regularly and want to push tabs from one browser to the other; this may also be useful for developers who need to test their sites in different browsers. What do you do? Manually copy and paste each URL from one browser to the other? That could take a long while depending on the number of tabs that you want to push to the other browser. The browser extension OneTab offers a solution that improves the process especially if you need to push multiple tabs to the other browser. Things you will need: Firefox and Chrome OneTab extension for Firefox and Chrome. Tip: you can check out our OneTab review for Chrome here. How to import tabs from Chrome to Firefox and vice versa Note: Please be advised that the following process will close all of your tabs and save the session to a list. But don't worry, you can restore the entire session just as easily. 1. Once you have installed the add-on, you should see its icon in the browser's toolbar. 2. Click on the button to open OneTab (this closes all open tabs) 3. Select the "Export/Import URLs" option on the right side of the page. 4. You should see an Import/Export tab that has a list of all the tabs that you had opened. It has the URL and web page title for each tab. 5. Copy this list to the clipboard. 6. Open Firefox and repeat steps 2 and 3. 7. Now you should be on the Import/Export tab. Paste the list of tabs from step 5 in the Import text field. 8. Click on the import button. OneTab should open a new tab which displays the tabs that you just imported. Click on the "Restore all" option, and the add-on should open all the tabs at once. You can also choose to restore only the ones that you want, by clicking on the tab titles individually. That's it. How simple was that? The process works the other way too, i.e., if you want to export tabs from Firefox to Chrome. Note that it is theoretically also possible to send the list of exported URLs to a contact. May be useful to share research or let someone pick off where you stopped. Another use for this method: Backup your sessions I use this method for a different purpose. Over the course of a week or two, I accumulate several dozens of sites in tabs that I find interesting or have opened for future research purposes. When I don't have the time to go through the list just yet but want to start fresh because the browser's tab bar gets convoluted, I use the extension to save the entire list of open sites in a text document. You can use the import option to restore the tabs anytime you want to. You can even backup your session, clear the browser's data and cookies and restore the tabs right back. This has been helpful for me quite a few times over the past few years. Note: OneTab hasn't been updated for a while on Chrome, but it still works perfectly. The Firefox version is updated frequently. There is an open source alternative for OneTab, called better-onetab, which I haven't used much since it was pulled and re-released by the developer. This post was inspired by something I saw on reddit's Firefox sub yesterday. It was an interesting post, but they used the developer console to move tabs from Chrome to Firefox and it also involved using two different extensions which made it a slightly more complex method. Source: How to import tabs from Chrome to Firefox and vice versa (gHacks)
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