Electrical Engineering
      and Computer Sciences

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

UC Berkeley

A Survey of Firefox Extension API Use

Adrienne Porter Felt

EECS Department
University of California, Berkeley
Technical Report No. UCB/EECS-2009-139
October 16, 2009

http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2009/EECS-2009-139.pdf

Mozilla Firefox provides third-party developers with a framework for writing extensions to add functionality to the browser. Extensions have unfettered access to browser privileges: extensions can snoop on web content, delete files from the hard drive, and even launch new processes from arbitrary binaries. Extensions might be intentionally malicious (i.e., a user unknowingly installs browser malware) or they might accidentally leak privileges to malicious web sites. It would be desirable to limit the powers of extensions, but we also do not want to cripple the extension framework too severely. Here, we review twenty-five "recommended'' Firefox extensions to provide a basis for the discussion of legacy extensions' interface needs. Notably, we find that very few extensions need access to the file system or system calls despite the fact that all extensions have this ability.


BibTeX citation:

@techreport{Felt:EECS-2009-139,
    Author = {Felt, Adrienne Porter},
    Title = {A Survey of Firefox Extension API Use},
    Institution = {EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley},
    Year = {2009},
    Month = {Oct},
    URL = {http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2009/EECS-2009-139.html},
    Number = {UCB/EECS-2009-139},
    Abstract = {Mozilla Firefox provides third-party developers with a framework for writing extensions to add functionality to the browser. Extensions have unfettered access to browser privileges: extensions can snoop on web content, delete files from the hard drive, and even launch new processes from arbitrary binaries. Extensions might be intentionally malicious (i.e., a user unknowingly installs browser malware) or they might accidentally leak privileges to malicious web sites. It would be desirable to limit the powers of extensions, but we also do not want to cripple the extension framework too severely. Here, we review twenty-five "recommended'' Firefox extensions to provide a basis for the discussion of legacy extensions' interface needs. Notably, we find that very few extensions need access to the file system or system calls despite the fact that all extensions have this ability.}
}

EndNote citation:

%0 Report
%A Felt, Adrienne Porter
%T A Survey of Firefox Extension API Use
%I EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley
%D 2009
%8 October 16
%@ UCB/EECS-2009-139
%U http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2009/EECS-2009-139.html
%F Felt:EECS-2009-139