Changes in Firefox 68

Firefox

Firefox 68 is coming out today, and we wanted to highlight a few of the changes coming to add-ons. We’ve updated addons.mozilla.org (AMO) and the Add-ons Manager (about:addons) in Firefox to help people find high-quality, secure extensions more easily. We’re also making it easier to manage installed add-ons and report potentially harmful extensions and themes directly from the Add-ons Manager.

Recommended Extensions

In April, we previewed the Recommended Extensions program as one of the ways we plan to make add-ons safer. This program will make it easier for users to discover extensions that have been reviewed for security, functionality, and user experience.

In Firefox 68, you may begin to notice the first small batch of these recommendations in the Add-ons Manager. Recommendations will include star ratings and the number of users that currently have the extension installed. All extensions recommended in the Add-ons Manager are vetted through the Recommended Extensions program.

As the first iteration of a new design, you can expect some clean-up in upcoming releases as we refine it and incorporate feedback.

recommended extensions card in about:addons

On AMO starting July 11, Recommended extensions will receive special badging to indicate its inclusion in the program. Additionally, the AMO homepage will be updated to only display Recommended content, and AMO search results will place more emphasis on Recommended extensions.

AMO recommended extension badge

As the Recommended Extensions program continues to evolve, more extensions will be added to the curated list.

Add-ons management and abuse reporting

In alignment with design changes in Firefox, we’ve refreshed the Add-ons Manager to deliver a cleaner user experience. As a result, an ellipsis (3-dot) icon has been introduced to keep options organized and easy to find. You can find all the available controls, including the option to report an extension or theme to Mozilla—in one place.

new about:addons look

The new reporting feature allows users to provide us with a better understanding of the issue they’re experiencing. This new process can be used to report any installed extension, whether they were installed from AMO or somewhere else.

report option in about:addonsselect issue type when reporting extension

Users can also report an extension or theme when they uninstall an add-on. More information about the new abuse reporting process is available here.

Permissions

It’s easy to forget about the permissions that were previously granted to an extension. While most extensions are created by trustworthy third-party developers, we recommend periodically checking what you have installed, what permissions you’ve granted, and making sure you only keep the ones you really want.

Starting in Firefox 68, you can view the permissions of installed extensions directly in the Add-ons Manager, making it easier to perform these periodic checks. Here’s a summary of all extension permissions, so you can review them for yourself when deciding which extensions to keep installed.

permissions panel in about:addons

In upcoming releases, we will be adjusting and refining changes to the Add-ons Manager to continue aligning the design with the rest of Firefox and incorporating feedback we receive. We’re also developing a Recommended Extensions Community Board for contributors to assist with extension recommendations—we’ll have more information soon.

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Update Regarding Add-ons in Firefox

Firefox

Last Updated: 00:54 EDT May 5 2019

Updates:

  • Some users are reporting that they do not have the “hotfix-update-xpi-signing-intermediate-bug-1548973” study active in “about:studies”. Rather than using work-arounds, which can lead to issues later on, we strongly recommend that you continue to wait. If it’s possible for you to receive the hotfix, you should get it by 6am EDT, 24 hours after it was first released. For everyone else, we are working to ship a more permanent solution. (May 5, 00:54 EDT)
  • There are a number of work-arounds being discussed in the community. These are not recommended as they may conflict with fixes we are deploying. We’ll let you know when further updates are available that we recommend, and appreciate your patience. (May 4, 15:01 EDT)
  • Temporarily disabled commenting on this post given volume and duplication. They’ll be re-enabled as more updates become available. (May 4, 13:02 EDT)
  • Updated the post to clarify that deleting extensions can result in data loss, and should not be used to attempt a fix. (May 4, 12:58 EDT)
  • Clarified that the study may appear in either the Active studies or Completed studies of “about:studies” (May 4, 12:10 EDT)
  • We’re aware that some users are reporting that their extensions remain disabled with both studies active. We’re tracking this issue on Bugzilla in bug 1549078. (May 4, 12:03 EDT)
  • Clarified that the Studies fix applies only to Desktop users of Firefox distributed by Mozilla. Firefox ESR, Firefox for Android, and some versions of Firefox included with Linux distributions will require separate updates. (May 4, 12:03 EDT)

Late on Friday May 3rd, we became aware of an issue with Firefox that prevented existing and new add-ons from running or being installed. We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused to people who use Firefox.

Our team has identified and rolled-out a fix for all Firefox Desktop users on Release, Beta and Nightly. The fix will be automatically applied in the background within the next few hours. No active steps need to be taken to make add-ons work again. In particular, please do not delete and/or re-install any add-ons as an attempt to fix the issue. Deleting an add-on removes any data associated with it, where disabling and re-enabling does not.

Please note: The fix does not apply to Firefox ESR or Firefox for Android. We’re working on releasing a fix for both, and will provide updates here and on social media.

To provide this fix on short notice, we are using the Studies system. This system is enabled by default, and no action is needed unless Studies have been disabled. Firefox users can check if they have Studies enabled by going to:

  • Firefox Options/Preferences -> Privacy & Security -> Allow Firefox to install and run studies (scroll down to find the setting)

  • Studies can be disabled again after the add-ons have been re-enabled

It may take up to six hours for the Study to be applied to Firefox. To check if the fix has been applied, you can enter “about:studies” in the location bar. If the fix is in the active, you’ll see “hotfix-update-xpi-signing-intermediate-bug-1548973” in either the Active studies or Completed studies as follows:

You may also see “hotfix-reset-xpi-verification-timestamp-1548973” listed, which is part of the fix and may be in the Active studies or Completed studies section(s).

We are working on a general fix that doesn’t use the Studies system and will keep this blog post updated accordingly. We will share a more substantial update in the coming days.

Additional sources of information:

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April’s featured extensions

Firefox

Firefox Logo on blue background

Pick of the Month: Disable WebRTC

by Chris Antaki
Do you use VPN? This extension prevents your IP address from leaking through WebRTC.

“Simple and effective!”

Featured: CSS Exfil Protection

by Mike Gualtieri
Gain protection against a particular type of attack that occurs through Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).

“I had no idea this was an issue until reading about it recently.”

Featured: Cookie Quick Manager

by Ysard
Take full control of the cookies you’ve accumulated while browsing.

“The best cookie manager I have tested (and I have tested a lot, if not them all!)”

Featured: Amazon Container

by JackymanCS4
Prevent Amazon from tracking your movements around the web.

(NOTE: Though similarly titled to Mozilla’s Facebook Container and Multi-Account Containers, this extension is not affiliated with Mozilla.)

“Thank you very much.”

If you’d like to nominate an extension for featuring, please send it to amo-featured [at] mozilla [dot] org for the board’s consideration. We welcome you to submit your own add-on!

The post April’s featured extensions appeared first on Mozilla Add-ons Blog.

March’s featured extensions

Firefox

Firefox Logo on blue background

Pick of the Month: Bitwarden – Free Password Manager

by 8bit Solutions LLC
Store your passwords securely (via encrypted vaults) and sync across devices.

“Works great, looks great, and it works better than it looks.”

Featured: Save Page WE

by DW-dev
Save complete pages or just portions as a single HTML file.

“Good for archiving the web!”

Featured: Terms of Service; Didn’t Read

by Abdullah Diaa, Hugo, Michiel de Jong
A clever tool for cutting through the gibberish of common ToS contracts you encounter around the web.

“Excellent time and privacy saver! Let’s face it, no one reads all the legalese in the ToS of each site used.”

Featured: Feedbro

by Nodetics
An advanced reader for aggregating all of your RSS/Atom/RDF sources.

“The best of its kind. Thank you.”

Featured: Don’t Touch My Tabs!

by Jeroen Swen
Don’t let clicked links take control of your current tab and load content you didn’t ask for.

“Hijacking ads! Deal with it now!”

Featured: DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials

by DuckDuckGo
Search with enhanced security—tracker blocking, smarter encryption, private search, and other privacy perks.

“Perfect extension for blocking trackers while not breaking webpages.”

If you’d like to nominate an extension for featuring, please send it to amo-featured [at] mozilla [dot] org for the board’s consideration. We welcome you to submit your own add-on!

The post March’s featured extensions appeared first on Mozilla Add-ons Blog.

February’s featured extensions

Firefox

Firefox Logo on blue background

Pick of the Month: ContextSearch

by Mike B
Select text to quickly search the phrase from an array of engines.

“Very intuitive and customizable. Well done!”

Featured: Word Count

by Trishul
Simply highlight text, right click, and select Word Count to easily do just that.

“Beautifully simple and incredibly useful for those of us who write for a living.”

If you’d like to nominate an extension for featuring, please send it to amo-featured [at] mozilla [dot] org for the board’s consideration. We welcome you to submit your own add-on!

The post February’s featured extensions appeared first on Mozilla Add-ons Blog.

January’s featured extensions

Firefox

Firefox Logo on blue background

Pick of the Month: Auto Tab Discard

by Richard Neomy
Save memory usage by automatically hibernating inactive tabs.

“Wow! This add-on works like a charm. My browsing experience has improved greatly.”

Featured: Malwarebytes Browser Extension

by Malwarebytes Inc.
Enhance the safety and speed of your browsing experience by blocking malicious websites like fake tech support scams and hidden cryptocurrency miners.

“Malwarebytes is the best I have used to stop ‘Microsoft alerts’ and ‘Windows warnings’.”

If you’d like to nominate an extension for featuring, please send it to amo-featured [at] mozilla [dot] org for the board’s consideration. We welcome you to submit your own add-on!

The post January’s featured extensions appeared first on Mozilla Add-ons Blog.

November’s Featured Extensions

Firefox

Firefox Logo on blue background

Pick of the Month: Undo Close Tab

by Manuel Reimer
Access recently closed tabs by right-clicking the icon in your toolbar.

“The extension does exactly what is stated: it restores tabs, and not just the last one closed, but up to 25 recent tabs.”

Featured: Lilo

by Lilo
Help fund social and environmental causes by simply using Lilo search.

“Very positive. This engine allows us to help in a concrete way without any effort or money.”

Featured: SoundFixer

by unrelenting.technology
Adjust the gain and pan levels for almost any audio you encounter on the web.

“Wonderful – so many videos I like are so low I can’t hear them at all. This really, really works! Yay!”

If you’d like to nominate an extension for featuring, please send it to amo-featured [at] mozilla [dot] org for the board’s consideration. We welcome you to submit your own add-on!

The post November’s Featured Extensions appeared first on Mozilla Add-ons Blog.

September’s featured extensions

Firefox

Firefox Logo on blue background

Pick of the Month: Iridium for YouTube

by Particle
Play videos in a pop-out window, only see ads within subscribed channels, take video screenshots, and much more.

“Been using this for a couple of months and it’s the greatest YouTube extension ever. I have tried a lot of different ones and this one melts my heart.”

Featured: Private Bookmarks

by rharel
Password-protect your personal bookmarks.

“This capability was sorely needed, and is well done. Works as advertised, and is easy to use.”

Featured: Universal Bypass

by Tim “TimmyRS” Speckhals
Automatically skip annoying link shorteners.

“Wow you must try this extension.”

Featured: Copy PlainText

by erosman
Easily remove text formatting when saving to your clipboard.

“Works very well and is great for copying from browsers to HTML format emails, which often makes a complete mess of not only fonts but layout spacing as well.”

If you’d like to nominate an extension for featuring, please send it to amo-featured [at] mozilla [dot] org for the board’s consideration. We welcome you to submit your own add-on!

The post September’s featured extensions appeared first on Mozilla Add-ons Blog.

Share files easily with extensions

Firefox

WeTransfer offers a simple, extensions-based file transferring solution.

When we want to share digital files, most people think of popular file hosting services like Box or Dropbox, or other common methods such as email and messaging apps. But did you know there are easier—and more privacy-focused—ways to do it with extensions? WeTransfer and Fire File Sender are two intriguing extension options.

WeTransfer allows you to send files up to 2GB in size with a link that expires seven days from upload. It’s really simple to use—just click the toolbar icon and a small pop-up appears inviting you to upload files and copy links for sharing. WeTransfer uses the highest security standards and is compliant with EU privacy laws. Better still, recipients downloading files sent through WeTransfer won’t get bombarded with advertisements; rather, they’ll see beautiful wallpapers picked by the WeTransfer editorial team. If you’re interested in additional eye-pleasing backgrounds, check out WeTransfer Moment.

Fire File Sender allows you to send files up to 4GB each. Once the file is successfully uploaded, a link and a six-digit code is generated for you to share. The link and code will expire 10 minutes after upload or after one download—whichever occurs first. Also, within the 10-minute time frame, you have the ability to stop sharing the file. Fire File Sender uses the browser sidebar for the uploading and downloading of files through Send Anywhere APIs.

Best of all, neither WeTransfer, nor Fire File Sender require an account to use their service. The enhanced anonymity of the file exchange, plus the automatic deletion of files (Dropbox and Google require manual deletion), make these extensions strong choices for privacy-minded folks.

I should also mention Firefox Send, though it’s a web service and not an extension. Firefox Send is Mozilla’s home-grown solution to file sharing. Created by the Mozilla Test Pilot team, Firefox Send allows you to securely share files up to 1GB in size directly from your browser. Any links generated will either expire after one download or 24 hours, whichever comes first. Taking privacy matters even further, files distributed through Firefox Send are encrypted directly in the browser and then uploaded to Mozilla. Mozilla does not have the ability to access the content of the encrypted file.  (The Test Pilot team constantly strives to improve on their project; its development progress can be viewed on GitHub.)

 

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New backend for storage.local API

Firefox

To help improve Firefox performance, the backend for the storage.local API is migrating from JSON to IndexedDB. These changes will soon be enabled on Firefox Nightly and will stabilize when Firefox 63 lands in the Beta channel. If your users switch between Firefox channels using the same profile during this time, they may experience data regression in the extensions they have previously installed.

We recommend that users do not change Firefox channels between now and September 5, 2018. However, if they do and they contact you with questions about why their extensions are not behaving normally (such as losing saved options or other local data), please point them to this post for instructions on how to retrieve and re-import their extension data.

How to retrieve migrated data and re-import the extension data

Go to about:config and check the setting for extensions.webextensions.ExtensionStorageIDB.enabled. If it is set to true, the extension data has been moved to the new backend and is not directly available as a single file in the file system.

If the extension data is not available after it has been moved in the new backend, follow these steps to ask Firefox to re-import the extension data:

  1. Look up the Extension ID by going to about:debugging
  2. Navigate to your system profile directory
  3. Go to the folder called browser-extension-data
  4. Go to the folder of the Extension ID you found in about:debugging
  5. You will see a file named storage.js.migrated (or storage.js.migrated.N if the data has migrated more than once). Your data has been moved into this file.
  6. Uninstall the extension
  7. Copy the file named storage.js.migrated to a new file named storage.js in the same directory
  8. Open the browser console.
    1. You can access the browser console by going to the from [hamburger menu] → Web Developer → browser console
  9. Re-install the extension
  10. Wait for a message “Migrating storage.local data for ” and “storage.local data successfully migrated to IDB Backend for ” to appear in the browser console

How to address errors when re-importing migrated extension data

If you see a QuotaExceededError in the browser console during the final step in the data retrieval and re-importing process, you may have insufficient disk space. After you free  additional disk space, you maybe be able to fix this issue by following the steps outlined in the section above.

If the problem persists and the extension is using the new ExtensionStorageIDB backend, please report the issue on Bugzilla. You can see if the extension is using the ExtensionStorageIDB backend by going to about:config and seeing if extensions.webextensions.ExtensionStorageIDB.migrated.EXTENSION_ID is set to true.

Reporting issues with the storage.local API

If you are an extension developer and you encounter any issues that seem to be related to the storage.local API, please file a new issue on Bugzilla and add it as a blocker of bug 1474562 so that we can promptly investigate it.

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