Mozilla Toys with Drop Kicking Favicons from Firefox Address Bar

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News Posted: Tue, Apr 24 2012 10:55 AM
Favicons may seem harmless enough, but according to Mozilla, they can be pretty dangerous. The problem, as Mozilla explains it, is that pesky Web miscreants intentionally misuse and abuse favicons in order to do harm to your PC. How so, you ask?

"While the favicon can represent a piece of a site’s identity, there are some sites that set their favicon to a padlock. This behavior can trick users in to thinking that a site is using a secure connection when on an unsecured connection," Mozilla says.

It's a simple trick with potentially dire consequences for unsuspecting Internet users who aren't trained to second guess every single part of the Web browsing experience. Mozilla's solution is to drop favicons from Firefox altogether, which it has already done with the latest Nightly build.

For those using the Nightly build, they'll see a green padlock next to websites that use SSL certificates with Extended Validation. Those that use SSL certificates without Extended Validation will have a gray padlock, and those that omit both will simply fallback to a globe icon (see examples above).

Mozilla says it plans on implementing the change to its Release channel in mid-July.
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omegadraco replied on Tue, Apr 24 2012 11:35 AM

I think this is smart of Mozilla. Fav icons are a bit of a joke anyways in my opinion.

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Dave_HH replied on Tue, Apr 24 2012 11:04 PM

It's interesting to hear this opinion on favicons. What makes you say that? I'm always interested in improving reader experience and if there is no use for them, then it would be interesting to know why. I think, at least with bookmarks, they at least serve as a visual reminder.

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I actually really enjoy favicons. It's a very quick and easy way for me to find a site in my bookmarks (I'm a visual person). I also have to add that I push favicons as a selling point for my freelance sites, it's the little details like this that seal the deal. It will be a sad day when they get rid of them.

Now you're just mashing it!

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elfsun replied on Wed, Apr 25 2012 4:17 AM

It's ok to remove the favicon from address bar. Just don't remove it from bookmarks bar.. I have delete all the titles of my bookmarks and only show the favicons, this saved me a lof of space. I know Avant browser has the options to hiden the titles on bookmarks bar, in chrome I should delete them manually one by one.

Is there any extension in chrome that can do this?

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Kevin741 replied on Wed, Apr 25 2012 4:45 AM

Those were some very good listings!

Thank you very much!!!


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mhenriday replied on Wed, Apr 25 2012 5:41 AM

I'm using Nightly (14.0a (2012-04-24) as the default browser on my 64-bit Ubuntu 11.10 box, and don't at all miss favicons in the address bar. But I agree that they can come in handy when searching one's bookmarks - I use the Delicious add-on (, which displays them in a sidepanel /which can be toggled on and off) and thus enjoy the best of both worlds....


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ZTimpson replied on Thu, Apr 26 2012 5:39 PM

THANK YOU!!!!! This is very helpful and explains alot of my problems i have been haveing, good to know the source of the problem. thank you Paul Lilly!

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