Current Version plugins

Check all Firefox extension permissions with Project Insight

Project Insight is a new extension for the Firefox web browser to check permissions of all extensions installed in the browser.

Mozilla Firefox displays permissions that an extension requests when you hit the install button; interested users may check the manifest file prior to doing so or find out about permissions on the add-ons page on the Mozilla website.

Firefox does not display the permissions in the add-ons manager, however. One option that Firefox users have to check permissions of installed extensions is to load about:debugging in the browser’s address bar to list all installed and included extensions.

A click on Manifest URL next o an extension — it is only available for user-installed add-ons — displays the requested permissions of the add-on.

Project Insight

project insight

Project Insight improves the managing of extension permissions in several ways. The extension displays all installed extensions and the requested permissions when you click on its icon after installation.

Shows you what permissions your installed add-ons have and what domains they have permission to access.

Note that disabled extensions don’t request permissions and that permissions are displayed only for user-installed extensions for Firefox and not system add-ons that Mozilla added.

Each installed extension is listed with its name and version. Extensions that come with their own option pages have that page linked to as well so that you can start configuring it right away.

Permissions are listed with icons and names, e.g. Context Menus, Tabs, or Web Requests. You can click on any of those to display short descriptions to better understand what permissions do. The descriptions are basic but sufficient to understand what each permission does.

extension permissions

You find URLs that extensions requested permissions for (and you allowed) listed there as well. If an extension requested permissions to access individual URLs, those are listed there; otherwise you find the wildcard *://* listed which includes permissions to access all URLs in the browser.

Closing Words

Project Insight is a useful extension for Firefox that lists all installed extensions, their permissions, and the URLs they may access, on a single page in the browser.

The extension could be improved in several meaningful ways. The author could link to resources that provide deeper explanations for individual permissions or highlight critical permissions such as permissions to access any URL or web requests, and even add filtering options to display all extensions that match certain criteria such as access to any URL.

Now You: Do you verify permissions and extensions before installing them?

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