Firefox Adds Enhanced Password Manager, Cookie Blocking

John Lister's picture

Mozilla has made two major changes to make Firefox browsing easier and safer. It's adding a robust password manager and and enhanced cookie blocking feature that will help avoid dubious online tracking.

The password manager is called Firefox Lockwise. For now it's only available as a browser extension, rather than being built into the browser itself. It's the same service that was previously available on mobile devices as "LockBox."

The basic functions of Lockwise include being able to store login credentials and access from multiple devices, and are much the same as on third-party password managers. The main advantages are that it integrates a little more smoothly with Firefox's existing settings menus and that - Mozilla hopes - users may trust it more than a third-party provider.

Paid Service May Follow

Internal Mozilla discussions suggest it is exploring whether to offer a paid-for version of Lockwise and what features would persuade people to sign up for a premium service. (Source: bleepingcomputer.com)

Meanwhile Firefox will soon have an "Enhanced Tracking Protection" switched on by default. At the moment it has to be manually activated in the settings menu.

The feature automatically blocks third-party tracking cookies which are set to track a user's online activity, but don't request explicit permission to do so. It will work by checking cookies against a register operated by a company called "Disconnect." (Source: itproportal.com)

Not All Cookies Blocked

The register only includes cookies that meet several criteria:

  • It collects data on the user and then retains it, for example in a database.
  • It stores data in a way that covers an individual, rather than aggregating it.
  • A third party is involved, either in collecting or receiving the data.

A cookie that deals solely with the site in question (such as a weather site remembering a user's location to offer localized forecasts whenever they visit) won't be blocked by the feature. The idea is that the setting won't make any noticeable difference to the user experience. The address bar will display a small shield icon to show the feature is active.

The enhanced cookie blocking features in Firefox come shortly after Google announced Chrome's "dashboard for cookies," - a feature which reportedly helps to block third party tracking as well. Critics suggest that the cookie blocking is just a ploy to bolster Google's own ad services which won't be affected by the changes.

What's Your Opinion?

Would you trust a password manager more because it's operated by a browser developer? What if any features would persuade you to pay for a password manager? Is blocking third-party tracking cookies an attractive setting for you?

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Comments

PseudoGeek's picture

I've been using LastPass for years, and a recent update to Firefox blocked it, along with several other good extensions. Firefox website suggested that if I really need to use those extensions (well, yes, I have no idea what my passwords are for any website as they're managed through LastPass) then I should download the Developer version of FF. I did that, and was able to re-install my extensions, bookmarks, etc. It also tossed my cookies. Very annoyed with FF right now.

buzzallnight's picture

I hate tossing my cookies!

***Would you trust a password manager more because it's operated by a browser developer?***
NO

***Would you trust a password manager at all?***
NO

***What if any features would persuade you to pay for a password manager?***
Hahahaha Quit it you are making my sides hurt laughing too much.

Let's see, I am a hacker, I wonder where all the passwords are?
OH, I know, the password manager!!!!!!!!!!!!!

***Is blocking third-party tracking cookies an attractive setting for you?***
Ad blocker plus works very well :)

lgitschlag_3159's picture

buzzallnight, I agree, and also love your humor.

buzzallnight's picture

Thanks

I just get frustrated with programmers,
they just change things all the time,
but never really make anything better.

dwightlightnin_12354's picture

I have been subscribing and reading comments here for years and this article has the best comments so far. I'm not a hacker and think password managers are just another way for LEO's and the FEDs to gain access to a system easier. And do hackers even need your passwords as CMD.EXE and microsofts Power Shell seem to me as a hackers keys to the sheeple. If you have Android phone root it! If you use iphone read your analytics daily and you will understand a password is just to keep your wife out of your accounts.