Firefox team releases Lockbox password manager for its users

    Yesterday, March 26, the Firefox browser development team introduced a new product called Firefox Lockbox , a password manager for mobile devices. According to the project’s FAQ page , only the version for iOS is now available, but “in the near future there will also be an option for Android devices.” Perhaps the FAQ was simply not updated, because the application is already available on Google Play and is available for download. You can also view the project repository on GitHub for review .

    The idea of ​​Firefox Lockbox is both simple to the point of banality, and very symbolic, as it solves a very common user case: extracting passwords from the browser. Firefox Lockbox is essentially the same password manager as 1password or KeePass, but it has out of the box synchronization with one of the popular browsers. The application allows you to extract user passwords and transfer them to the application without an open transfer stage (if you upload logins and passwords by hand). Of course, not all users are able to extract their data, and some are not even aware of this possibility.

    But in this whole story there are several big “buts”: Lockbox only works with Firefox accounts, plus it’s not completely clear who needs it and why Mozilla is releasing a mono application for storing passwords instead of doing more important things.

    Firefox as a browser is going through hard times. According to Statista , in 2018, the share of Firefox fell from 14% in January to 10% in December, with a low point of 9.1% in November.

    At the same time, over the same period, the share of Chrome increased from 50 to 70% - the main increase in the Google user base was due to IE and Edge users, which at the end of last year resulted in a rejection of further development of Edge on the EdgeHTML engineand the transition to Chromium. According to other estimates, the share of Chrome is slightly less - 65% of desktop devices, but Firefox is no easier for this: its share is still estimated at around 9%. Mozilla’s browser cannot compete in terms of comfort with Google Chrome in terms of multi-platform user experience, which also negatively affects FF performance.

    Is Firefox Lockbox needed at all?

    The first thought that visits anyone who knows about the existence of 1password or KeePass is: “why do you need a Lockbox at all”?

    In fact, it’s quite difficult to come up with a massive user case for a new application from Firefox. Everything looks too specific: the Lockbox is nailed to Firefox and only syncs passwords from it. Of course, when migrating to a PC from, for example, Chrome to FF, the latter’s built-in tools allow you to pull all the logs and passwords from the Google browser, but what next?

    Most likely, the main goal of Lockbox is to make life easier for existing Firefox users on PCs and laptops in terms of UX on mobile devices. We know that FF for mobile devices is at least specific, and users pay much less attention to choosing a browser on the same Android smartphone than when working through a full-fledged station in the form of a PC or laptop. The main way to use Lockbox is as follows: "if you are working on a PC through Firefox, you will not need to think about remembering passwords and manually entering it on a mobile device, just roll out Lockbox . "

    The decision is at least controversial. Firefox Lockbox is just a crutch, laying between a browser on a PC and mobile devices, which will facilitate the life of an existing user base, but is absolutely useless in terms of attracting new users, because Chrome has a G-account that does not need password storage applications. Of the advantages, only AES-256-GCM encryption, the onepw protocol and the use of PBKDF2 and HKDF can be distinguished.

    At the same time, the description of the application on Google Play and appStore indicates that the required version of Android is 7.0 and higher, and iOS is 11.0 and higher, that is, only modern devices that have entered the market in the last few years fall under the target audience of Firefox Lockbox. To call such an approach to development not too far-sighted is to say nothing. With the ever-decreasing share of the browser market, the development team simply cut off all those who use obsolete, according to marketers, but still working devices. And the relevance of Lockbox raises a lot of questions when there are more hardcore alternatives on the market for at least a decade.

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