The developers of the main browsers on the market, like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, are trying to promote using secure connections as much as possible. A proof of this is that newer versions of the browsers, starting with Chrome 68 and Firefox 60, will flag HTTP pages as “not secure” to prompt developers to go for more secure HTTPS connections. However, it seems that the HTTP protocol is not the only insecure protocol to meet its end, as the FTP protocol is also targeted.
As we can read, it seems that Mozilla will not settle with flagging HTTP connections as “not secure” on Firefox 60. We now know that the company intends to offer its users the possibility of disabling insecure FTP connections.
The FTP and HTTP protocols are similar: they have improved versions with data encryption (there are several alternatives for the FTP protocol, like FTPS or SFTP), so it does not make much sense to still use these insecure connections nowadays.
Firefox 60 will have that option disabled by default, so users can connect to FTP servers seamlessly. If we want to block unsafe websites, we must do it manually as follows.
The first thing that we have to take into account is that we must have Firefox 60 installed on our computer to block the protocol. This browser’s version is still in development, which means that we have to use the browser’s Nightly version.
If we already have that version installed, the only thing that we would have to do is to go to the browser’s advanced settings menu by typing “about:config” on the address bar. Once we see that menu, we will search for the “network.ftp.enabled” entry to change its value to “false”, which means it is disabled, by clicking on it.
We then have to relaunch the browser and that is it. From this point onward, the FTP protocol will stop working on the browser, so it will only be able to use the secure SFTP and FTPS alternatives that we mentioned previously.
Little by little, the developers of the main browsers are blocking all the insecure protocols, making the Internet as secure as possible. Maybe Google Chrome will soon do the same by blacklisting more insecure protocols. However, this can be a problem if it is not done well.
A lot of webpages do not use secure protocols for several reasons. Although these webpages will work with no other issue than the “unsafe webpage” warning for the time being, they might stop working sooner or later. It is necessary for those web developers that use unsecure protocols, like HTTP or FTP, on their webpages or servers to update them as soon as possible to avoid problems and keep shaping a safer Internet.