Firefox master password options

I recently changed my Master Password for Firefox to a rather more difficult-to-type combination of characters. I remembered that there was a way to change how often Firefox asks for the master password, but I couldn’t find it in the options. (I’m running Mozilla Firefox 1.0.7 on Ubuntu Linux 5.10.)

You can modify how the master password is used by going into about:config. However, it helps to have a key:

  1. Enter about:config in the address bar of Firefox
  2. Filter by “password”
  3. Find the preference “security.ask_for_password”
  4. Change the value to 0, 1, or 2 as desired:
    Only the first time it is needed. Asking once per Firefox session is definitely less secure, but also less annoying. If you leave Firefox open all the time, this is like not having a master password at all.
    Every time it is needed. Every time you visit a login page, you will be prompted to enter the master password. Effectively, this is like using the same password everywhere. But it is certainly more secure than the once-per-session option.
    Ask after X minutes. The option “security.password_lifetime” is used to determine how long the master password is remembered by Firefox after each prompt. This can be less secure, but on the other hand, it is handy when you are logging in and out of a number of sites within a short period of time.

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