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Does Firefox master password add anything to a full encrypted disk ? As I understand it, Firefox master password is here to protect again passive attacks, ie when firefox is not running, or at least when the passwords are not unlocked yet. But when running, password are stored in cleartext in memory... So if my disk is fully encrypted, is there any gain in encrypting a file (firefox saved passwords) on it ?

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Anyone with access to the physical system or even remote access to the system while its running wouldn't be stopped by the fact your system is encrypted. You have already at the point where the operating system is running decrypted the files. – Ramhound Apr 18 '13 at 17:25
@Ramhound you should post this as an answer – dawud Apr 18 '13 at 18:40
@dawud - Feel free to post it yourself. Its not at the quality of my normal answers. – Ramhound Apr 18 '13 at 18:45
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The value of FF's keyvault remains because it prevents malware and other processes running on your system from obtaining access to the vault. FDE is great when the system is off, but doesn't protect anything from software running on the pc locally.

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Accepted. But again, I think once unlocked, Firefox has the passwords in cleartext in memory, so they are not really protected either. See for example... So the added security is if an attacker has access to the running system while Firefox password safe is locked... – alci Apr 19 '13 at 7:54
its not entirely clear. This page implies that you must use the masterpassword each time the password is displayed, which would imply that they remain encrypted :… – Frank Thomas Apr 19 '13 at 16:11

As far as I know, Firefox uses encryption. I think it was optional in the past, but it is always used nowadays.

It all depends on your use case, but in my book the master password feature is very useful and provides an additional security layer.

If all data on a storage device is fully encrypted, manually encrypting single files afterwards is pretty much pointless.

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