Firefox forms database, speed, privacy, etc.

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by axial, Apr 10, 2009.

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  1. axial

    axial Registered Member

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    I've been using FF 3.0.8 on WinXP. Today I came across an oddity with the way FF handles forms and stores info (as it turnd out, in its sqlite databases) and I'm wondering if there could be other, more private, info in these form databases than many users might realize.

    The background is that a nameless s/w co has recently changed their forum software to something called "Jive Clearspace". When I posted a new thread on one of the new forums for the first time, I was startled to find that simply clicking in the title box brought up a scrolling window showing titles of several completely unrelated websites that I'd posted on -- even threads I'd posted here on Wilders -- going back several months.

    This doesn't happen when posting on Wilders directly, nor on any other forums I've been on, so it would seem to be something odd in the way this co has implemented their Jive, but this got me wondering where this info was stored and what else might be saved in the same place. I found a great description here, including significant FF speed improvements from cleaning them:
    http://ryanschwartz.net/2009/03/19/adventures-in-firefox-placessqlite

    I believe there are various utils for browsing SQLite files but I haven't yet had time to check them out. There's also a FF add-on called SQLite Manager.
    I know FF keeps bookmarks and browser history etc, but it seems like forms get used on places such as sign-in pages, so if FF is keeping this stuff could there potentially be passwords etc. in there too? I'm wondering what spelunking in the sqlite files might reveal.

    Do the various FF "privacy plugins" clean these sqlite files too, or is that just for cookies?
     
  2. MikeBCda

    MikeBCda Registered Member

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    Sorry I'm ignorant about the technical background, but FF does have settings to permit or deny saving form-entries (i.e., topic titles, as you noted, log-in names, etc.) as well as passwords (a separate database).

    Form entry permission is set in Tools/Options/Privacy. There's also a setting there as to whether cleaning "personal data" includes wiping forms history. I'd love to see FF copy IE's example and allow you to remove individual entries, but in FF it's all-or nothing.

    Passwords are handled in Tools/Options/Security. You can set permissions there, and also see a list of where you've got passwords saved for (and the passwords themselves, if you wish). And there, unlike forms, you can delete individual entries.

    Clear as mud, as is typical of me? ;)
     
  3. axial

    axial Registered Member

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    Aha, thank you, MikeBCda. I didn't even imagine that there would be such a detailed preference within FF settings, almost certainly an indication of too long in the IE world (although I do have to qualify that as I was a Netscape fanatic for longer than anybody else I knew). And until this experience I wouldn't have given the setting much cogitation anyway, but seeing my own form entries sort of rise up with a ghostly cheshire cat grin was distinctly unsettling.
     
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