Protecting the contents of the profile - browser

From MozillaZine Knowledge Base

Firefox and Mozilla Suite's settings (such as bookmarks, preferences, history) are stored in the profile folder. The data in the profile in not encrypted or protected, with the exception of stored passwords (which are encrypted and can be protected with a master password). Anyone with access to your system can view the contents of your profile.


Weak methods

These methods are useful in protecting against accidental views and non-technical viewers.

  • The ProfilePassword extension requires a user to enter a password in order to use the profile. It is trivial to bypass by running in safe mode (to disable the extension) or by opening the profile files directly using a text editor.

Medium methods

These methods are recommended for the average user.

  • Set up multiple users in your operating system and configure it so they don't have access to each other's files. On all platforms, Firefox and Mozilla Suite by default put the profile in a user-specific location. This can be bypassed by a user with administrator privileges or by booting another operating system (for example, by using a live CD). In a business environment an administrator might consider using group or system policy settings to restrict access or store it in a password-protected file share on a file server.
  • Store your profile on a USB flash drive by using utilities such as Firefox Portable. These utilities frequently support requiring a password to access the contents of the drive. Additionally, you can remove the drive when not on your computer.

Strong methods

These methods are recommended for those very concerned about the privacy of their data.

  • Store the profile on a password-protected encrypted disk partition. Using an encrypted disk partition rather than encrypted files avoids being prompted to encrypt and decrypt each file. Utilities such as TrueCrypt, pgpdisk, Axcrypt, FileVault, and pppd - Practical Privacy Disc Driver can create encrypted partitions.
  • Firefox and Mozilla Suite make use of the operating system's temporary folder. Under Windows you can specify a different location for the temporary folder by setting the TMP and TEMP environmental variables . You might set it to a small RAM disk or a directory in an existing password-protected encrypted disk partition.

See also

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