Firefox 71 has a new Certificates Viewer

Mozilla plans to introduce a new Certificates Viewer in Firefox 71. The new viewer is enabled by default in recent Firefox Nightly builds already.

The majority of websites use the Uniform Resource Identifier scheme HTTPS to encrypt connections; more precisely, the communication protocol is encrypted using TLS or SSL. HTTPS protects against man-in-the-middle attacks and eavesdropping provided that the certificate that is used is trusted and that cipher suites without weaknesses are being used.

Internet users who want to verify certificates that sites use may use certificate viewers to do so. Firefox users have three options to do so:

  1. Right-click anywhere on the page and select Page Info. Switch to the Security tab and select View Certificate.
  2. Click on the icon next to the address, then on the arrow next on the next page close to the connection info part of the interface, then on More Info, and finally on View Certificate.
  3. Open the Developer Tools using F12, switch to Network, reload the page, and select the elements that you want to check. Switch to Security there to display certificate information.

These three methods will still be available when Firefox 71 is released on December 12, 2019.

Firefox’s new Certificates Viewer

firefox new certificate viewer

Mozilla plans to introduce the new Certificates Viewer in Firefox 71. Nightly is the only version of Firefox that is already at that version and users of the cutting edge version of Firefox may test the new Certificates Viewer already.

Tip: a preference is used to determine whether the old or new Certificates Viewer is launched when Firefox users select the option. You may edit the preference security.aboutcertificate.enabled on about:config to enable (True) or disable (False) the new viewer for certificates once it is integrated in the Firefox version that you run. You can follow this bug to monitor the implementation and this bug to follow development.

The redesigned Certificates Viewer opens in its own tab in Firefox instead of its own window. The viewer users the about:certificate URI but you cannot open it without specifying a certificate. Mozilla developed it using modern web technologies and the open source WebExtension Certainly Something as its blueprint.

The native Certificates Viewer looks practically identical to the Firefox add-on; the only information bit that is missing is the handshake part that the extension displays on top of the certificates listing.

The Certificates Viewer displays all relevant information when you launch it including validity, fingerprint, public key, and issuer information. The switch to displaying certificate information in a tab ensures that information display well regardless of browser or screen size; additionally, since the display is not restricted anymore to the boundaries of the popup window that Firefox uses to display it currently, more information is displayed at the same time on the screen if the size of the tab is large enough for that.

Now You: do you use a Certificates Viewer in your browser of choice? What is your take on the new implementation?

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