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Firefox "New Tab" Feature Using Screen Shots of Browsing Sessions Including Banking Visits...

by on22 June 2012 3651 times

FirefoxFirefox has caught up with Google’s Chrome browser when it comes to insecurity. After forcing updates on unsuspecting users (we turn on the computer the other day to be told it was already updated) the newest version of Firefox apparently takes screen shots of your pages to put them into their Tab-Thumbnail view including sites that might be encrypted or secure connections (like your banking information). This is a pretty big privacy issue and one that has quite a few people upset.

Firefox has been made aware of the issue and are working on a fix, but do not have one just yet. When they announced the decrease in the amount of time between releases of Firefox builds we worried that this might be a side effect. After all with the smaller timeline more bugs are bound to get through QA. In fact we do not even get why FireFox and Google need this style of release schedule. More often than not a new update breaks plug-ins changes some security settings and in general screws things up.

If Firefox and Google really want to compete they need to slow down and get things right. After that Google needs to remove all of the tracking and other unneeded crap from Chrome (do you really need to change the registry entries for .html and .htm to force the use of the chrome extensions?).

Right now Firefox has two bugs on the books one with Flash Player and now this one that captures screen shots of secure browsing sessions when it should not. Oddly enough according to a statement that was only available on TheRegister Mozilla wants the user to take some responsibility too,

“We are aware of the concern and have a fix that will be released in a future version of Firefox. Mozilla remains resolute in its commitment to privacy and user control. The new tab thumbnail feature within Firefox does not transmit nor store personal information outside the user's direct control.

The new tab thumbnails are based on users' browsing history. All information is contained within the browser and can be deleted at any time. Users can also switch back to using blank new tab screens by clicking the square icon in the top right corner of the browser. That will change the default preference to show a blank page, rather than the most visited websites when a new tab is opened.

Users who share their computer or use Firefox on a public computer should follow best practices for protecting their privacy by utilizing the built-in privacy tools in in Firefox, such as Private Browsing Mode.”

I do not know about you, but I still think that taking a screen shot and storing it even if it is only contained in the browsing history is a problem. No Browser should be taking screen shots of what a user is doing; it really is as simple as that. We tend to be on the extremely paranoid side these days and wipe all data when the browser closes just to be sure…

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Last modified on 22 June 2012
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