Mozilla has announced two new add-on badges: ‘Verified’ and ‘By Firefox.’ Add-on badges help users identify extensions that are regularly reviewed by the Firefox owner. For example, add-ons with badges are usually considered more secure, reliable, and trustworthy than add-ons without badges.
Mozilla announces new add-on badges
Differentiating between add-ons with and without badges is fairly simple. Firefox add-ons that aren’t regularly reviewed by Mozilla’s team consist of the following caution label:
“This add-on is not actively monitored for security by Mozilla. Make sure you trust it before installing.”
Verified vs By Firefox add-ons
Built by third-party developers, Mozilla reviews add-ons with the ‘Verified’ badge for security and policy compliance. To receive a verified badge, developers must pay a fee to have their code reviewed by the Mozilla team. A verified badge also indicates that a particular add-on complies with Mozilla’s security and policy standards.
Add-ons with the ‘By Firefox’ badge indicate that the extensions are developed by Mozilla.
Recommended vs Promoted/Sponsored add-ons
Previously, Mozilla announced the pilot of a new promoted add-ons program. As the name suggests, the program will boost the visibility of certain add-ons in exchange for a fee. In a nutshell, Mozilla will charge developers a fee to promote such add-ons.
“We have recently finished selecting the participants for the (promoted add-ons) pilot, which will run until the end of November 2020,” said Caitlin Neiman, Add-ons Community Manager at Mozilla.
Recommended Firefox add-ons will continue to carry Mozilla’s existing ‘Recommended’ badge. Interestingly, the location of all badges remains unchanged irrespective of Firefox add-ons.
Are non-badge Firefox add-ons unsafe?
Despite a process in place, Mozilla doesn’t guarantee that an extension is 100 percent safe. When in doubt, these are some of the questions to ask yourself:
- Is the extension from a brand or developer I trust?
- Is the developer’s online activity consistent with the features of the extension?
- How many other users have installed this extension?
- Does the extension have a good star rating and positive reviews?
- Are the permissions requests consistent with the features of the extension?
Meanwhile, you can enable or disable add-ons in Private Mode on Firefox.