One of the features that Mozilla aims to include in its popular Firefox browser is Electrolysis project support, known as e10s. This option is designed to separate web content from the main Firefox processes, which would have a positive effect on security and performance. In terms of security, e10s would offer the possibility of getting sandboxed individual tabs, which allows the separation of content from these tabs to avoid interaction such as sharing cookies, or storing data with content in other tabs, or with other areas of Firefox. Each tab would be independent and would pretty much run as it was a unique, separate browser.
While e10s has allowed Mozilla to develop the core technology needed to sandbox tabs, there is an alternative and independent solution that is already set up to offer this functionality and that is “Priv8”. This free and open source add-on for Firefox lets you sandbox individual Firefox tabs. With Priv8, it is possible to create new sandboxes, assigning them a default URL and tab group color.
The sandboxed tabs are marked with their own color, making them easier to differentiate. If you sandbox a tab for services like Facebook or Gmail, you will be able to open another tab and sign in using a different account. You can access a Gmail account in one tab to check your email and open another tab to use YouTube with a different Google account at the same time. This is thanks to the individual nature of the tabs. If you right-click a new link within a sandboxed tab, you will be able to open the link in the same sandbox. The same tab group color is used for all these tabs so you can easily identify them.
You can quickly open the sandboxes created using the menu bar icon’s dropdowm option. Although Priv8 fulfills its purpose and offers good performance, it lacks some useful features. Some of the options that we would like to see for added functionality include better documentation and support for Private mode, since Priv8 doesn’t work with this option at the moment. In addition, it would be good to be able to open sandboxed links from a non-sandboxed tab, or to have the option to open links from within a sandboxed tab into a different sandbox group.
In some cases the links don’t open correctly, but in general, the sandboxes work as they are supposed to. It would be good to see other improvements like the option to reorder sandboxes in the menu in a more efficient way because at the moment, this has to be done manually. We’d also like to have the chance to delete stored data including cookies, for each individual sandbox.
Priv8 by Baku is a smart, practical concept that every Firefox user should consider. While it is not perfect, it does offer a good selection of features and can be very useful in different situations. For instance, you can keep Gmail open in a tab without compromising the security of your browsing as you can prevent tracking by Google. Priv8 is easy to use and it is reliable. It is a prelude to the sandboxed browsing that will probably be introduced as a default feature in the near future. This extension will allow you to enhance the security of your web browsing and it is a convenient way to sign into different accounts for the same service simultaneously.