Did you know that ANYONE using your computer can easily view your Firefox stored passwords? This does not just apply to machines running Windows but also on an Apple Mac.
If the answer is no you are not alone as many people don`t realise that any login you store in Firefox could be accessible via the click of a button if the would be snooper is sat at your computer. Yes that`s your email passwords, your amazon password, your Facebook password all compromised as easy as that. So the question you should be asking is are my passwords actually “my passwords” considering your work colleagues, other people who have access to your computer or the next person that uses that computer in the library could have access to them!!
While this only affects those that ask Firefox to “remember passwords” this is still likely to be a large section of people who are compromising their own security. Are you one of them?
So first lets take a look at how simply someone could do this and then we can look at steps you can take to prevent it.
How to View Firefox Stored Passwords
With most browsers, including Firefox whenever you go to a site that you are requires you to login the browser will ask you if you wish to remember the username and password to make it convenient to login next time you visit the site.
Now I should stress that this username and password is encrypted and stored meaning anyone opening the Firefox password file would not have access to your password. The problem comes when you either share a computer or someone has access to the computer (Such as you go on your lunch break at work and do not lock you computer)
Open Firefox and in the top right hand corner click the 3 lines.
Select Options and then click on Security on the left hand side. Finally click on Saved Logins.
You will then see a list of logins in the centre of your screen that shows you things like the site, the username associated with that site and the day it was last used.
Further down you will see a button that says show passwords. Click that and you will be presented with a warning, press yes. You will see that now the site, Username AND a plain text Password are displayed in the list!!
All a little too easy in my opinion. As I stated earlier this is also true of Firefox on an apple computer
So lets look at what we can do to make it either less difficult of take it out of the equation altogether.
What Can I Do to Secure My Passwords In Firefox
Method One – Master Password
Firefox does give you the ability to lock down your Firefox stored passwords with a master password. This means you still have the convenience of having your logins stored but it is not easily accessible to anyone else.
Head back into options/security and just above the saved logins button is a box that you can tick that says “Use a Master Password”
Set the password to your desired password and now if you try to access your saved passwords by clicking show passwords you will be asked for the master password. Goodbye snoopers!!
Method Two – No More Logins
This option stops Firefox from saving any logins and you can remove the ones that are already stored on Firefox. This method will still keep you logged into accounts and will remember you username/email for auto fill but wont remember your password. When you clear your browsing history or the remove the cookie that is allowing you to login to the site expires, you will need to login to the account again.
Perform the previous steps to get to the security section of Firefox and under Logins remove the tick from remember logins for sites option.
Once you have done this you may want to clear out all the passwords it has saved. Click on Saved Logins.
In some cases you may not know the passwords for some of the logins as you have had Firefox remembering them all for you for a while. If this is the case before clearing the logins it may be worth adding them to a password manager like My Login Vault or noting them down so you have them for future reference, you can do this by clicking show passwords.
Once you are sure you want to clear all the passwords click the remove all button in Firefox and confirm to remove all old passwords from its memory.
Method Three – Remember Nothing!!
Combined with method one why not stop Firefox recording any information and force it to clear its history every time you close the web browser down. You do sacrifice some of the convenience for security as it does mean you will have to login to the site every time you restart Firefox and type in both the username and password but it does give you the maximum security.
To do this Head over to the options section as before but this time click on privacy.
Under History change to “Never Remember History”.
That`s it no more spying on your Firefox stored passwords as Firefox no longer stores your passwords!