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Firefox 62: Firefox Monitor system add-on integration

Mozilla plans to integrate a new system add-on called Firefox Monitor in Firefox 62 that Mozilla plans to roll out gradually to the Firefox population.

Mozilla ran a Firefox Monitor Shield study recently to find out how useful Firefox users who enrolled in the study found the new feature.

Firefox Monitor is a security feature to inform users about data breaches. The service has a web component that Firefox users may enter email addresses to check whether the email is found in compromised databases and to sign up for alerts to receive word when an email address is found on a newly leaked database.

Mozilla cooperates with Troy Hunt who maintains the Have I Been Pwned database for the project.

Firefox Monitor

The system add-on will have an integrated component eventually as well that displays a notification to users when they visit a breached site.

It is unclear when breach warnings will be displayed to users. Possibilities include when users visit the site or when they are on a page with form fields, e.g. a login page.

Mozilla plans to roll out the feature to EN-US users of Firefox only during initial launch. The organization plans to enable the feature for 0.5% of EN-US users initially on September 5, 2018.

If that initial rollout goes well, it will be rolled out to 100% of the EN-US Firefox population on September 25, 2018. The actual website will be available to all users on September 25, 2018 as well. The language of the site will be in English only for the time being though.

If the initial rollout does not perform well — Mozilla plans to compare the performance to the performance of the Shield study — only the website will be made available but the rollout itself will be stopped.

The system add-on can be turned off by users who don’t want to use it.

  1. Type about:config?filter=extensions.fxmonitor.enabled in the Firefox address bar.
  2. Confirm that you will be careful.
  3. Set the preference to false to turn the system add-on off.

Note that the preference does not exist yet, not even in Firefox Nightly.

Closing Words

Firefox Monitor informs users about data breaches. The website component that Mozilla runs checks addresses for breaches and includes an alert function to inform users about breaches. The functionality depends on the availability of breached databases, however, and should not be seen as a 100% way of finding out about any breach that happens.

I find the integrated notification component promising as it informs users about breached sites when they visit these sites. It remains to be seen how this will be implemented in the browser.

Firefox users who don’t want to use the extension can turn it off using a preference.

Now You: What is your impression of Firefox Monitor?

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