Passwords now need to be strong and complex, and you need lots of them. If you have several online accounts, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of all of your logins by memory alone—unless of course, you’re a robot, capable of recalling stings of random alphanumeric codes.
This is why people like us, bless our simple brains, have to use password managers, software or other tools.
Password managers aren’t perfect either. They aren’t always free and provide lots of functionality beyond just remembering passwords. Plus, there is always risk of a data breach. Then there are people like us, wanting to use them but also not wanting to spend time setting them up.
Enter Firefox Lockbox, a password access service. It is not a password manager. It doesn’t look like it wants to be.
It is, however, something simple that fills a gap.
Let’s see what it is and how it works:
What Is Firefox Lockbox?
Three years ago, Mozilla started its Test Pilot Program for a small group of users who volunteered to test some forward-thinking experimental features Mozilla wanted to try out.
Although the program has been shut down, it produced some experimental add-ons like Color, Side View, Price Tracker and Notes. The recently launched file sharing service Send also stemmed from the very same program however it was Lockbox for iOS which is the very first independent app that came out of the program.
Now Firefox has launched Lockbox for Android after having more than 50,000 downloads for the iOS platform.
What It Is Not
Lockbox is not a password manager. Password managers like 1Password, Enpass, Lastpass etc. offer their services as a complete package. Through them, you can:
- Add login/password records
- Edit said records
- Get reminders about changing your passwords periodically
- And get complex password suggestions for new passwords
To get to use these functionalities, you have to set up an account and fill it up with all your accounts’ credentials.
Firefox Lockbox, on the other hand, does not offer any of these services.
Mozilla based the Lockbox on the theory that most people already use a password manager without actually using a password manager service. They use their browsers to remember passwords for all the accounts they have online.
With the arrival of apps, many of these websites are being used as apps downloaded on our Android phones. Websites or apps, both require the same login. Instead of remembering the password, or noting it down, or even opening up your computer to check out the saved passwords on Firefox, why not use an app that simply gives you access to your saved account credentials?
This is exactly what Lockbox does.
It shows us all the passwords which are already saved in Firefox.
Once you install the Lockbox app, you can then open it up to see the saved account for that particular app/website without having to open/install Firefox browser.
It has the following functionalities.
- Access to credentials saved in Firefox under your Mozilla Firefox account
- Autofill passwords
- Disables screenshots when in use
- Auto-locking based on smart timer
- App lock based on face recognition or fingerprint scanner (Mobile dependent)
- AES-256-GCM Encryption, onepw protocol and PBKDF, HKDF with SHA 256 functions for strong security.
Just a Part of the Firefox Ecosystem?
Besides the security protocols being used to encrypt data, Mozilla bases the security on the fact that your browser is already on your PC/smartphone under the protective layer of your operating system’s password and your Mozilla Firefox account.
It is not just security, Firefox browser is the central theme of the app. The experimental nature of the app’s idea that most of the internet surfing done is through the browsers is not far from the truth.
In it, Mozilla seems justified in keeping Firefox as the central module. You can only use the Firefox browser to add any new account’s entry and edit an existing account’s record.
This makes Lockbox look like a part of the enclosed Firefox ecosystem. A simple app that remembers our passwords, keeps it safe and only lets us views them when we want.
This can hurt its independent status and hinder its probable growth, if any, if it wasn’t for the facts that:
- Mozilla still considers it as an experimental product; meaning changes are expected, and
- You can use Lockbox to autofill passwords on your choice of browsers and apps.
So we are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping for the best for the future. It is not as enclosed within the Firefox ecosystem as it sounds.
For Now, Let’s Only Take It as How Mozilla Describes It
- An experimental product
- A simple and secure app
- An app that keeps people’s passwords with them wherever they go across any device
Simply stating… “Firefox Lockbox – Take your password everywhere.”
So How Do I Use It?
You can set up the app through two stages:
1. Setting up Firefox
Before installing Lockbox, you need to first make sure that you are using a Firefox account on your browser.
If you don’t have one, you can make one by following these steps:
Firefox desktop login and sync
- Click on the top right three dash ≡ button to access the menu.
- Here click on Preferences/Options.
- On the Preferences screen, open the Firefox Account option on the bottom left and follow the instructions to make an account.
After that, you need to make sure that Firefox Sync setting is set properly for logins. You can do that by
- Logging in to your Firefox account.
- Access Options/Preferences by clicking on the three dash ≡
- Here on the top, in the search box, type Sync Settings.
- Under Sync Settings mark the Logins checkbox as checked.
Having a Firefox account and linking it up from the desktop browser to Lockbox is a must. If, however, you are also using your browser on Android and want to link/sync it with Lockbox, then you need to go through the following steps:
Firefox Android login and sync
- Open up Firefox browser and go to Settings in the main menu
- Here on the settings page, tap on Sign-in to login with your Firefox account
- Once signed in, search for the Sync-Settings
- Under Sync-Settings make sure that Logins option is checked.
This is it, now you are ready for app installation and usage.
- Simply go to Google Play Store.
- Search and download the Firefox Lockbox app by Mozilla or click here.
- Once the app is installed, tap it to launch.
- After launch, you will be asked to enter credentials for your Firefox account.
Note: These are the same credentials you use in your Mozilla Firefox browser. Your independent account is associated through these credentials.
App launched and running
- Once your account is validated, you will be asked to choose an autofill service.
- Here, the options are:
- Firefox Lockbox
- Or any third-party service.
- Here Select the Firefox Lockbox option.
- Once that is done, you can tap back.
- Tap Finish.
Once finished, your app is ready to be used. You can open it up and view all saved entries in the Firefox browser, within your app. You can tap to open up an account’s entry, and then either:
- Tap on the view button to view the password, or
- Copy the password to use it somewhere else.
Setting up Autofill Later
If you have skipped setting up the Autofill option during the installation of the app, you can always set it up later by:
- Go to Firefox Lockbox Settings.
- Turn Autofill On.
Or you could:
- Go to Settings by accessing it through Widget or Notification Panel.
Figure 6 Autofill through language & input option
- Go to Languages & Input and then Autofill Service or search for Autofill.
- In the Autofill Service/Autofill screen, choose Firefox Lockbox as your Autofill service.
That is all there is to installing and using Lockbox app.
Once installed, the app will use facial recognition or fingerprint scanner to open up, and logs out after a smart timer.
Some might think that compared to other password managers the functionality seems limited however we actually like the straight forward approach and the simplicity of use the app brings.
Firefox seems to be focused on privacy-first themes and we think that this app’s different approach feels a step in the right direction in the breach-infested internet of today.
The limited access of editing records does feel limiting but makes the app more secure so that there are one/two point/s of editing the records instead of many, limiting the probability of mistake.