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You are here:  gunnars.net - Mozilla Help - Configuring Mozilla's privacy and security features

How to configure Mozilla's and Netscape 7.1's privacy and security features

Step Four - Passwords

"It is a common misconception that you have to be faster than the bear. You don't - you just need to be faster than your assistant"  
unknown nature movie director

Passwords and Pin numbers have become a part of our daily lives.  Unfortunately,  the more passwords we have, the more we are apt to use the same ones over and over lest we forget them. The shortcomings of this approach from a security point of view are quite obvious: If someone gets a hold of your one password, then they can access your email, newsgroups, ebay account,...

Well, why not make the browser remember the passwords for us? Mozilla's Password Manager can take care of that for you.

Mozilla's Password Preferences:
Mozilla's Password Preferences

Of course, what about hackers who might "steal" the passwords from the browser? Well, Mozilla's programmers made it harder for them to steal passwords. In addition to your profile's path never being the same (this is why they added the "df745kdtk.slt" folder - it always has a different name, hence there's always a different path to your profile), Mozilla can also encrypt your stored information. While there is no such thing as perfect security, you just need to be a harder target than your average Internet Explorer user (see the quote at the beginning of this page).

  • The recommended Passwords settings are:
    If you want Mozilla to remember passwords for you, check "Remember passwords" and "Use encryption when storing sensitive data".

    If you check "Use encryption when storing sensitive data" (recommended), you also need to select a master password.

Mozilla's Master Password dialog
Mozilla's Master Password Preferences

Make sure to select a password that is easy to remember but also safe (i.e. not your spouse's or boat's name). As a rule of thumb, using a combination of numbers, letters and symbols (e.g. ~) is safer than just using numbers or letters. The difference regarding the password's ease of being cracked is enormous - it ranges from roughly 1 minute (just letters) to almost a year (letters, numbers and symbols). When you enter your master password, Mozilla will show how safe it is. The longer the bar, the safer the password.

Now you may say "But if someone gets a hold of my master password, won't they know all my other passwords, as well?". Theoretically yes, but that person would need to a) know your password and b) have physical access to your PC.

Previous Step. Popup Windows
Next step: Scripts and Plugins.

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