If there has been one buzzword in the tech world recently, it’s been “data.” There has been so many data breaches, as well as companies collecting and/or selling data, that it’s become a little frightening. Thankfully, Mozilla is aiming to help us out with that by offering the option to check if accounts have been breached with Firefox Monitor.
Helping Even More People
Firefox isn’t the first such service. The “Have I Been Pwned” database will currently let you know if your data has possibly been breached. Currently, there are more than two million people who subscribe to the service.
But the creator of that database, Troy Hunt, isn’t happy with that two-million number. He wants to help even more people which is why he said he signed on to help Mozilla institute his service in this new Firefox Monitor website.
Users can enter their account information into Firefox Monitor to find out if their username and password have been caught up in a hack or a leak. It ties in with Mozilla’s efforts to overhaul the browser and feature more protections.
“This is major because Firefox has an install base of hundreds of millions of people,” said Hunt in a blog post, “which significantly expands the audience that can be reached once this feature rolls out to the mainstream.”
Mozilla is still testing it even at this point. Other account-security companies are using “Have I Been Pwned” as well, such as iPassword and Okta. It’s all part of Hunt’s plan to get the most out of his database of leaked usernames and passwords and to help as many people as possible.
“We decided to address a growing need for account security by developing Firefox Monitor,” wrote Peter Dolanjski, Mozilla’s product manager, in a blog post. He added that Firefox Monitor is “a proposed security tool that is designed for everyone but offers additional features for Firefox users.”
Rolling Out Firefox Monitor
Mozilla is planning to invite about a quarter-million users to try Firefox Monitor next week. They’ll be able to enter their email address to discover if their accounts have been compromised in some way. They are also considering at some point in the future sending notifications about new data breaches to the service’s registered users.
This is all coming up quickly for Hunt. He just announced last March that he’d be partnering with 1Password, and the cybersecurity firm Okta announced in May they would also be using the Have I Been Pwned database to alert their users when their passwords were no longer secure.
If you have concerns over sharing your data with yet another service, even if it’s in an effort to check for data breaches, systems have been developed to query Hunt’s database without sending a username and password to make sure hackers don’t get yet one more opportunity to get to the users’ information.
Okta is hashing passwords in a random character string to make it more difficult for it to be used as a readable password. Mozilla has said they, too, will be using hashing to secure their users’ information.
“This new Firefox feature allows users to check for compromised online accounts while preserving their privacy,” stated Luke Crouch, a privacy and security engineer at Mozilla.
What This Means for You
This could mean more safety for everyone in the future, as it means learning of a data breach much earlier. There have been several instances, it seems, where we don’t find out a company had a data breach of our info until months later. But Firefox Monitor will allow us to control it ourselves.
Whether or not you’re a Firefox user, Mozilla is looking to eventually open their service to you. And Hunt as well is looking to introduce his database to as many people as possible.
What do you think of Mozilla’s plan to introduce Firefox Monitor? Does this sound like something you will use? Or do you think you will prefer to stay clear of giving yet another service your information? Add your thoughts and concerns to the comments section below.