Protecting saved password in Firefox

Question

How can I protect saved password information in Firefox?

Answer

This question was answered on May 4, 2006. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

If youve crossed over to the Firefox browser (an alternative to Internet Explorer), you may be interested to know that all of your saved passwords (e-mail, membership sites, etc.) can be viewed with very little effort You can see this for yourself by opening Firefox, go to the Tools menu and click on Options

Go to the Privacy icon, click the Passwords tab, and in plain sight youll see a button that reads View Saved Passwords; click it.

Finally, click the button that says Show Passwords and prepare to be amazed Are you concerned now that youre staring at your usernames and passwords in plain text? Read on to find out what you can do about it.

Well, the good news is that this password archive is not accessible remotely; meaning a malicious person on the Internet wont be able to tap in and steal your passwords  at least, nothings been documented But anyone who can spend two minutes on your computer can indeed view and even print your entire set of saved account and password information.

Should you panic? Probably not Unless you share your computer with others, the only way someone is going to be able to view your saved web passwords is if that person has access to your computer If you have a firewall on your computer and lock your home's front door when you leave, your saved web passwords are pretty safe.

If you want to make absolutely sure your saved web passwords are significantly safer, you have three options:

1. Disable the Remember Passwords feature in Firefox so that the program never remembers any of your web passwords.

2. Create a new, master password that automatically locks all of your passwords from snoops.

3. Use your computers user accounts feature along with a screensaver password to require everyone who uses your computer to login.

Number 3 is potentially your best option and should probably be implemented whether youre using Firefox or not So, heres how to accomplish options 1 and 2:

Disable Remember Passwords

To permanently disable Firefoxs Remember Passwords feature:

1. Go to Tools > Options > Privacy

2. Click on the sign next to the words Saved Passwords or, in newer versions of Firefox, click on the Passwords tab.

3. Click on the View Saved Passwords button.

4. Click on the Remove All button [To the Firefox gurus out there: Yes, you can do the same thing in "Clear Private Data." But you still have to go to the Passwords tab to disable "Remember Passwords." I just figured we'd take the direct route.]

5. Click on the Close button.

6. Uncheck Remember Passwords.

7. Click on the OK button.

Doing this clears all of your old web passwords and prevents Firefox from remembering any new web passwords in the future.

Set a Master Password

Another way to lock down Firefox is to set a "Master" password This is a special password Firefox asks you to key in once per session Key in the correct master password and Firefox works just like it used to work by auto-filling your saved usernames and passwords on your favorite sign-in pages Key in an incorrect master password, however and Firefox automatically blocks your saved usernames and passwords from displaying Sign in pages will still load, but the username and password boxes will be blank.

To set a master password:

1. Go to Tools > Options > Privacy

2. Click on the sign next to the words Saved Passwords or, in newer versions of Firefox, click on the Passwords tab.

3. Click on the Set Master Password button.

4. Key in a new "master" password.

5. Click on OK.

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Author

Posted by Chad of Data Doctors on May 4, 2006