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When Firefox loads up it calls out to sites, how do I stop that?

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I'm using Firefox 68.0, 64 bit, on Win 10 Pro.

When I load up Firefox it takes a while (with a lot of disk activity) to load up. Maybe a minute or so at present, (it was longer until I manually cleared out extravagant amounts of data stored by sites that shouldn't have it).

When looking at the Manage Data functionality under the Privacy settings today, I saw that a large number of sites has their "last used" time marked as "3 minutes ago" which corresponded to the time Firefox was started up.

I looked through the sites involved. Over a hundred of them. Mostly sites that I haven't used for a long time, and not sites that the open pages have any links to (in other words these are not legitimate pre-fetches).

I manually selected the appropriate sites and removed cookies and data.

What is happening?

What default site setting/s can I use to prevent this sort of thing in future (on start-up)?

How do I programmatically access the "Manage Data" functionality? (I'd like to check sites what have gotten onto Firefox, how many cookies they have, how much data space they occupy, when last accessed, and remove their data should I wish. I don't want to do this repeatedly every few days, by hand.)

I've attached an image of the Manage Data screen taken about an hour after Firefox started, to illustrate.

Thanks.

I'm using Firefox 68.0, 64 bit, on Win 10 Pro. When I load up Firefox it takes a while (with a lot of disk activity) to load up. Maybe a minute or so at present, (it was longer until I manually cleared out extravagant amounts of data stored by sites that shouldn't have it). When looking at the Manage Data functionality under the Privacy settings today, I saw that a large number of sites has their "last used" time marked as "3 minutes ago" which corresponded to the time Firefox was started up. I looked through the sites involved. Over a hundred of them. Mostly sites that I haven't used for a long time, and not sites that the open pages have any links to (in other words these are not legitimate pre-fetches). I manually selected the appropriate sites and removed cookies and data. What is happening? What default site setting/s can I use to prevent this sort of thing in future (on start-up)? How do I programmatically access the "Manage Data" functionality? (I'd like to check sites what have gotten onto Firefox, how many cookies they have, how much data space they occupy, when last accessed, and remove their data should I wish. I don't want to do this repeatedly every few days, by hand.) I've attached an image of the Manage Data screen taken about an hour after Firefox started, to illustrate. Thanks.
Attached screenshots
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  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64; rv:68.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/68.0

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Shadow110 2 réiteach 29 freagra

That area is Cookies, all cookies will call home as per instructions in the cookie. Days, weeks, hourly.

Limiting cookies can break some sites that you visit or need for login purposes. That said you can use a Cookie Manager (key word manager) https://addons.mozilla.org/en-CA/firefox/search/?platform=windows&q=cookie%20manager

You can use various extensions/addons such as Ghostery, Ublock Origin, that will block some cookies per page view. If run a combination or a single and you can break some sites but you can figure it out as what to allow in the Addon. So by using a adblocker you block cookies also. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-CA/firefox/addon/ghostery/ https://addons.mozilla.org/en-CA/firefox/addon/ublock-origin/

You can considerably reduce the amount of cookies but will still have to clean or manage.

As well copy/paste to the address bar : about:preferences#privacy then Enter and go to Content Blocking and choose the level you wish to run at and use the Manage Exceptions button for the sites you want to allow.

Under the Permissions heading you can open Manage and turn it off to not allow any site to use that or put in your blocking and allow there.

That area is Cookies, all cookies will call home as per instructions in the cookie. Days, weeks, hourly. Limiting cookies can break some sites that you visit or need for login purposes. That said you can use a Cookie Manager (key word manager) https://addons.mozilla.org/en-CA/firefox/search/?platform=windows&q=cookie%20manager You can use various extensions/addons such as Ghostery, Ublock Origin, that will block some cookies per page view. If run a combination or a single and you can break some sites but you can figure it out as what to allow in the Addon. So by using a adblocker you block cookies also. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-CA/firefox/addon/ghostery/ https://addons.mozilla.org/en-CA/firefox/addon/ublock-origin/ You can considerably reduce the amount of cookies but will still have to clean or manage. As well copy/paste to the address bar : about:preferences#privacy then Enter and go to Content Blocking and choose the level you wish to run at and use the Manage Exceptions button for the sites you want to allow. Under the Permissions heading you can open Manage and turn it off to not allow any site to use that or put in your blocking and allow there.
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Shadow110 2 réiteach 29 freagra

They way to get your best browsing done with little use of cookies is to use a normal Firefox to go to the sites that you want cookies or use the cookies for login or preferences for the site.

When you do not want cookies use Private Browsing as cookies will be deleted when shut down Firefox. If your a big link clicker you can right click a link and have the site open in a Private Browser. You can reduce by a lot by using the combo.

You can use a Addon such as this : https://addons.mozilla.org/en-CA/firefox/addon/multi-account-containers/ to compartment your browsing as per the function of this : Cookies are separated by container, allowing you to use the web with multiple identities or accounts simultaneously. Still have to Manage though.

They way to get your best browsing done with little use of cookies is to use a normal Firefox to go to the sites that you want cookies or use the cookies for login or preferences for the site. When you do not want cookies use Private Browsing as cookies will be deleted when shut down Firefox. If your a big link clicker you can right click a link and have the site open in a Private Browser. You can reduce by a lot by using the combo. You can use a Addon such as this : https://addons.mozilla.org/en-CA/firefox/addon/multi-account-containers/ to compartment your browsing as per the function of this : Cookies are separated by container, allowing you to use the web with multiple identities or accounts simultaneously. Still have to Manage though.
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Thanks for that Shadow110.

How is the setting made to set the cookie refresh cycle? (I thought cookies worked per request.)

(I just stopped and restarted Firefox. A different group of sites had undergone the process which updates "last used", for cookies and storage.)

Yep I'm using tools to reduce adverts and surveillance. (and I use containers to a degree)

Do you have any information about accessing this functionality programmatically?

Thanks for that Shadow110. How is the setting made to set the cookie refresh cycle? (I thought cookies worked per request.) '''(I just stopped and restarted Firefox. A different group of sites had undergone the process which updates "last used", for cookies and storage.)''' Yep I'm using tools to reduce adverts and surveillance. (and I use containers to a degree) Do you have any information about accessing this functionality programmatically?

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cor-el
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See: *https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/Firefox+makes+unrequested+connections
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I've been watching this again today. Today the last used indications seemed to be nearly all pre-fetches for my portal page (though the links are NOT marked for pre-fetch).

(Yep, cor-el, thanks for that link. It's the same page I went through item by item before placing the original post.)

Yesterday there were many links that have, to my mind, no rational reason to come up.

This exercise, and the considerable time it has occupied show a couple of things to me, some may be useful to developers.

  1. The UI for managing the cookies and storage isn't great for documenting. I first started retyping the dozens of items found, before resorting to text recognition (for my internal documentation). It would be way simpler if I could copy and paste the contents. Would save a lot of time.
  2. Firefox appears to make some outrageous machine-decided-calls to various pages. Seeing that this then cascades to redirects and various multiplication of the end points sought out, a distinct surveillance and security risk, beyond rational control of the user unless they disable all of this.
  3. Marking these calls in the same way as user initiated calls is the core of the problem. These are not user calls, and should be identifiable as such.
  4. A deathly silence on automating the system was noticed.

So I'll probaly look at simply disabling all of this infrastructure. I care about my privacy, and these things are thus my enemy.

  • UPDATE: I've reviewed and documented all settings that seem to impact this. Have disabled the things that make sense and may cause these involuntary calls. (Some of the documented settings have changed compared to the article pointed out by cor-el.)
I've been watching this again today. Today the last used indications seemed to be ''nearly all pre-fetches'' for my portal page (''though the links are '''NOT''' marked for pre-fetch''). (Yep, cor-el, thanks for that link. It's the same page I went through item by item ''before placing'' the original post.) Yesterday there were many links that have, to my mind, '''no rational reason''' to come up. This exercise, and the '''considerable time''' it has occupied show a couple of things to me, some may be useful to developers. # The UI for managing the cookies and storage '''isn't great''' for documenting. I first started retyping the dozens of items found, before resorting to text recognition (for my internal documentation). It would be way simpler if I could copy and paste the contents. Would save a lot of time. # Firefox appears to make some '''outrageous''' machine-decided-calls to various pages. Seeing that this then cascades to redirects and various multiplication of the end points sought out, a '''distinct surveillance and security risk''', beyond rational control of the user unless they disable all of this. # Marking these calls in the same way as user initiated calls is '''the core of the problem'''. These are not user calls, and should be identifiable as such. # A '''deathly silence''' on automating the system was noticed. So I'll probaly look at simply disabling all of this infrastructure. I care about my privacy, and these things are thus my enemy. * UPDATE: I've reviewed and documented all settings that seem to impact this. Have disabled the things that make sense and may cause these involuntary calls. (''Some of the documented settings have changed compared to the article pointed out by cor-el.'')

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After making those configuration changes I checked again, today.

This time:

  1. Firefox made about 70 unwanted calls to end points on start-up.
  2. I listed the calls and compared with my home/portal page links. (I write my own home page, have for many years, so this isn't as hard as extracting things from Firefox.)
  3. The call outs include some not on that home page and miss some on that home page. The list seems unrelated to the home page.
  4. Some of the links I deliberately don't list on my home page. It's especially annoying to see them appear.
  5. Some of the unexpected links appear to be some that I have used recently.
  6. All in all a major waste of time and still not solved.

Firefox may be keeping an unauthorised list of links that I haven't seen, don't want and need to exterminate.

One thought is that awful auto maintained portal page which I loath and never see. (And NO I'm not going to look at the horrible thing, it might think I want it and come to bother me.)

Any suggestions?

After making those configuration changes I checked again, today. This time: # Firefox made about '''70 unwanted calls''' to end points on start-up. # I listed the calls and '''compared''' with my home/portal page links. (I write my own home page, have for many years, so this isn't as hard as extracting things from Firefox.) # The call outs include some not on that home page and miss some on that home page. The list '''seems unrelated''' to the home page. # Some of the links I deliberately don't list on my home page. It's '''especially annoying''' to see them appear. # Some of the unexpected links '''appear to be''' some that I have used recently. # All in all a major waste of time and still not solved. Firefox may be keeping an '''unauthorised list''' of links that I haven't seen, don't want and need to exterminate. One thought is that '''awful auto maintained portal page''' which I loath and never see. (And NO I'm not going to look at the horrible thing, it might think I want it and come to bother me.) '''Any suggestions?'''
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Shadow110 2 réiteach 29 freagra

Hi, sorry for nobody getting back to you about last 2 posts. Weird..had a dream about this.

Suggest since you say this is extreme that you might want to do a scan with Malwarebytes (free 24/7 scan for 2wks then User run).

Also this is now a Malwarebtyes program :

Firefox does call home now for various things like updating in place and no restart needed. Am sure there is other Telemetry also which no idea on but you can Copy/Paste this: about:telemetry to the Address Bar and Enter :

There is this page that I have no idea about :

These things can reduce the calls :

For your suggestions that you made there is nothing that Volunteer Support can Help you with getting that done but if you copy and paste the details and explain what you would like from the 3 Bar Menu, Right Corner from Help --> Submit Feedback or from the Top Menu: Help --> Submit Feedback it will be reviewed by a team.

  • So the some of all parts is please eliminate possibility of Malware/Adware.
  • Check the provided URL's for Privacy information.
  • Check your Extensions/Addons Permissions you have granted to the owner of same, Review.

If replying back to this please supply a list of your Extensions. Thanks.

Hi, sorry for nobody getting back to you about last 2 posts. Weird..had a dream about this. Suggest since you say this is extreme that you might want to do a scan with Malwarebytes (free 24/7 scan for 2wks then User run). *https://www.malwarebytes.com/mwb-download/ Also this is now a Malwarebtyes program : *https://www.malwarebytes.com/adwcleaner/ Firefox does call home now for various things like updating in place and no restart needed. Am sure there is other Telemetry also which no idea on but you can Copy/Paste this: '''about:telemetry''' to the Address Bar and Enter : There is this page that I have no idea about : *https://telemetry.mozilla.org/ These things can reduce the calls : *https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/control-center-site-privacy-and-security-firefox *https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/firefox-page-info-window *https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/storage For your suggestions that you made there is nothing that Volunteer Support can Help you with getting that done but if you copy and paste the details and explain what you would like from the 3 Bar Menu, Right Corner from Help --> Submit Feedback or from the Top Menu: Help --> Submit Feedback it will be reviewed by a team. *So the some of all parts is please eliminate possibility of Malware/Adware. *Check the provided URL's for Privacy information. *Check your Extensions/Addons Permissions you have granted to the owner of same, Review. If replying back to this please supply a list of your Extensions. Thanks.
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Thanks Shadow 110.

Here's my internal notes on your points. Thanks for taking the time to make the suggestions.

9. Suggestions about Firefox involuntary / unstoppable auto calls:

Thanks also for your details about the nature of the support here. I didn't realise. I presumed I was talking, among others, to members of the programming team and product management. With that background the problem description will typically shake loose a realisation of what is happening.

In the absence of that the chances of identifying the cause of a previously undocumented situation is probably pretty slim.

I'm not sure that there is a channel for identifying such things then, without more effort than I can spare, at the moment. So I will write this off as unsolvable with reasonable effort.

There is a chance I'll come back to it later.

Thanks Shadow 110. Here's my '''internal notes''' on your points. Thanks for taking the time to make the suggestions. 9. Suggestions about Firefox involuntary / unstoppable auto calls: * 9.0. Suggest run anti virus. I do that. Also ran a MWB, 0 found. (No DISM etc. at this time.) * 9.1. https://telemetry.mozilla.org/ Logging of various telemetry received. Interesting, but not pertinent for this issue afaict. * 9.2. https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/control-center-site-privacy-and-security-firefox * 9.3. https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/firefox-page-info-window Good reminder about per site information (with 9.2) I hadn't been using the additional information page, so an advance for me. Does not seem pertinent to the involuntary calls though. * 9.4. https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/storage That's the technique I've been using, and its UI is a source of my monitoring information in this investigation. * 9.5. Extensions not investigated in depth. None that I have, require call outs to multiple seemingly random sites though. No further action at this time. * 9.6. The calls are to non Mozilla sites, so not Mozilla telemetry. Thanks also for your details about the nature of the support here. I didn't realise. I presumed I was talking, among others, to members of the '''programming''' team and '''product management'''. With that background the problem description will typically shake loose a realisation of what is happening. In the absence of that the chances of identifying the cause of a previously undocumented situation is probably pretty slim. I'm not sure that there is a channel for identifying such things then, without more effort than I can spare, at the moment. So I will write this off as unsolvable with reasonable effort. There is a chance I'll come back to it later.

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