NewsNovember 28, 2017 @ 12:11 PM

Mozilla Advances Cybersecurity Education With New Integration

Cybersecurity education and security awareness have been important components of security for some time, but it’s never been easy to get companies to buy into the effort. One web browser is making an effort to change that.

Cybersecurity Education Takes Center Stage

Mozilla is working to integrate the data breach service Have I Been Pwned into Firefox’s user interface (UI). According to GitHub, Mozilla aims to use the service to alert users about data breaches and provide them with a bit of cybersecurity education.

Have I Been Pwned is a widely respected site run by Australian security researcher Troy Hunt. Its integration into a browser will alert users to data breaches that have led to credential leaks, potentially preventing Firefox users from falling prey to attacks.

Users will be automatically notified when they enter a site that has been recently breached. The browser will also offer a “Learn more” link when alerting users so that they can access additional information about data breaches within the Firefox UI. Those who are interested can then choose to join a service that will notify them about when they might be affected by future breaches, the information on GitHub explained.

Maintaining Data Security

According to Infosecurity Magazine, Hunt expressed some concerns about preserving data security during the process. “What I can say for sure is that no passwords will be involved here — I don’t store them nor do I provide any means of querying them, and I won’t be providing them to anyone else either,” he noted.

Mozilla is sensitive to these privacy issues. The company is working to determine who the custodian of this data will be and how it can offer functionality to users who opt out of subscribing to notifications. As noted by InfoSecurity Magazine, “While the project is still in infancy, the idea is to offer as much utility as possible while respecting the user’s privacy.”

It remains to be seen if Have I Been Pwned will make a big difference for Firefox users, but it’s a step in the right direction for a more secure future.

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Larry Loeb

Principal, PBC Enterprises

Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek. He wrote for IBM's DeveloperWorks site for seven years and has written a book on the Secure Electronic Transaction Internet protocol. His latest book has the commercially obligatory title of Hack Proofing XML. He's been online since uucp "bang" addressing (where the world existed relative to !decvax), serving as editor of the Macintosh Exchange on BIX and the VARBusiness Exchange.