Security/Tracking protection

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Description

Tracking Protection is a new platform-level technology that blocks HTTP loads at the network level. It is based on the Safe Browsing technology that powers our phishing and malware protection.

This feature is part of the Polaris initiative.

Prefs

  • browser.safebrowsing.provider.mozilla.lists: list of tables coming from the Mozilla shavar service
  • browser.safebrowsing.provider.mozilla.updateURL: server endpoint for downloading list updates
  • browser.safebrowsing.provider.mozilla.gethashURL: server endpoint for completions
  • browser.safebrowsing.provider.mozilla.lastupdatetime: timestamp (in ms) of when the last list update happened.
  • browser.safebrowsing.provider.mozilla.nextupdatetime: timestamp (in ms) of when the list should next be downloaded.
  • privacy.trackingprotection.annotate_channels: flag network channels loading resources on the tracking list (see how that information can be used)
  • privacy.trackingprotection.enabled: to enable TP globally
  • privacy.trackingprotection.lower_network_priority: lower the priority of channels loading tracking resources
  • privacy.trackingprotection.pbmode.enabled: to enable TP in Private Browsing mode (not needed if the global pref is enabled)
  • privacy.trackingprotection.ui.enabled: show a checkbox to toggle privacy.trackingprotection.enabled in the Preferences (Nightly only)
  • privacy.trackingprotection.introCount
  • privacy.trackingprotection.introURL: URL that kicks off the UI tour (target of the "See how this works" button in about:privatebrowsing)
  • urlclassifier.disallow_completions: list of tables for which we never call gethash
  • urlclassifier.trackingTable: list of tables to use when looking for trackers (they need to be named *-track-*)
  • urlclassifier.trackingWhitelistTable: list of tables to use when checking whether or not a tracker is part of the same entity as the page (they need to be named *-trackwhite-*)

Engineering

Lists

  • Current blacklists (Firefox 50 and later):
    • Base lists:
      • base-track-digest256: non-DNT-compliant trackers
      • baseeff-track-digest256: DNT-compliant trackers (EFF definition)
      • basew3c-track-digest256: DNT-compliant trackers (W3C definition)
      • Upstream source
      • Our copy (i.e. what we ship to clients in binary form)
      • Submit feedback and track changes
      • Excludes the Content and Legacy categories.
    • Content lists:
      • content-track-digest256: non-DNT-compliant content trackers
      • contenteff-track-digest256: DNT-compliant content trackers (EFF definition)
      • contentw3c-track-digest256: DNT-compliant content trackers (W3C definition)
      • Same upstream source as the base list.
      • Only includes the Content category.
  • Legacy blacklists (Firefox 42 to 49):
    • Blacklist (mozstd-track-digest256)
      • Same as the union of all of the base lists.
    • "Strict" blacklist (mozfull-track-digest256)
      • Same as the union of all of the base and content lists.
  • Entity whitelist (mozstd-trackwhite-digest256)
  • List creation script
  • The lists are stored in these files:
    • ~/.cache/mozilla/firefox/XXXX/safebrowsing/mozstd-track* on Linux
    • ~/Library/Caches/Firefox/Profiles/XXXX/safebrowsing/mozstd-track* on Mac
    • C:\Users\XXXX\AppData\Local\mozilla\firefox\profiles\XXXX\safebrowsing\mozstd-track* on Windows

QA

  • Bugzilla:
    • Firefox::Tracking Protection for UI and general feature requests/bugs
    • Toolkit::Safe Browsing for list updates and the actual blocking in necko
    • Cloud Services::Server: Shavar for server-side bugs
    • Breakage bugs
    • Bug triage

To turn on debugging output, export the following environment variable:

MOZ_LOG_FILE=/tmp/trackingprotection.log
MOZ_LOG="UrlClassifierDbService:5,nsChannelClassifier:5"

To produce the "digest256" hash that sbdbdump -v will contain for example.com:

echo -n "example.com/" | sha256sum 
7fc983ea552f7c8d153fc308d621eb4f52e84aa63ecccf3a735698a11a2a4a8d

Telemetry

Alerts are sent to safebrowsing-telemetry@mozilla.org.

  • TRACKING_PROTECTION_ENABLED: true if a session has privacy.trackingprotection.enabled turned on
  • TRACKING_PROTECTION_EVENTS: 0 = security state changed, 1 = user clicked the button to disable TP on the current page, 2 = user clicked to re-enable TP on the page
  • TRACKING_PROTECTION_PBM_DISABLED: true if a session has privacy.trackingprotection.pbmode.enabled turned off
  • TRACKING_PROTECTION_SHIELD: for each pageload, 0 if the shield is not shown (no trackers), 1 if the shield is crossed-out (page is whitelisted) and 2 if the shield is shown normally (trackers blocked)

Notes:

  • no telemetry pings are sent while in Private Browsing mode
  • we only have telemetry when TP is enabled in the session

Documentation