Master Password

One nice feature of Firefox that I started using on my laptop (I had been using Sea Monkey as my browser on my desktop until this week when I finally switched to Firefox) is the master password which you enter once and then it will keep track of all the different usernames and passwords for most sites that have them. The problem with the master password is that a lot of times I leave the browser open and then the computer goes to sleep and I don’t think about it anymore. Now if anyone were to break into the house, all they would need to do is open my computer (I don’t have a Windows password) and they could get into all of those sites if I had left the browser open. Most of the really secure sites don’t work with the master password, but it works on enough sites that I wouldn’t want someone to be able to do that.

So I thought it would be good if the master password would expire or time out after some amount of time, but there doesn’t seem to be an option for that in Firefox. A search found an extension that will do this, but just a little more digging found that Firefox can do this on its own through some config settings. I didn’t even know about config settings, but you can get to them by typing “about:config” in the URL bar.

Once that page opens you have a long list of settings. There is one setting called “security:ask_for_password” that is the master setting. If you set it to a value of 2, then you enable the password timeout. Then you can go to another config setting called “security:password_lifetime” and change it to the number of minutes you want the master password to work. The default is 30 minutes, which I figured wasn’t enough, so I changed it to 150 minutes. I don’t usually use the laptop in the morning, so by the time I leave the house it has been 8 or more hours since the laptop was in use. With 150 minutes, I might only need to enter that once at night and it will stay good. It’s easy enough to change later.

One thought on “Master Password

  1. I like using the master password also. I found a bookmark script that will bypass most sites that try to prevent password saving.

    I set my MacBook to require a password after being asleep for 15 minutes. That way, I can move around with the lid closed for a short time and still have the convenience of not entering a system password.

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