Mozilla finally shuts down Firefox Send

Service abandoned after it was exploited by hackers to spread malware

Mozilla has discontinued its encrypted file-sharing service Firefox Send a couple of months after suspending the service after reports it was being abused to distribute malware and conduct spear-phishing attacks.

Send was initially rolled out in March 2019 as a free encrypted file-sharing platform that allowed individuals to share files from any browser without having to install third-party software and without fear of the files being intercepted.

However, developers were made aware in July of reports that Firefox Send was being used in a number of malware operations, prompting the company to suspended the service a little more than a year after it was first launched.

In practice, when somebody received a link to a file, they would simply need to click on it to start the download, without having to sign up to an account. They were also able to send supported files of up to 1GB without needing to sign up, or 2.5GB for those who had a Firefox account.

Originally, Mozilla said it would take Firefox Send offline on a temporary basis while improvements were made, although it now appears that effort was unsuccessful.

“Unfortunately, some abusive users were beginning to use Send to ship malware and conduct spear-phishing attacks,” Mozilla said in an update. “This summer we took Firefox Send offline to address this challenge.

“In the intervening period, as we weighed the cost of our overall portfolio and strategic focus, we made the decision not to relaunch the service. Because the service is already offline, no major changes in status are expected.”

Mozilla has also decommissioned its Firefox Notes service, which the organisation claims allowed it to experiment with new methods of encrypted data syncing. The Firefox Notes desktop browser will continue to be functional for all existing installs, although this will no longer be maintained from early November – when the service will be decommissioned.

The organisation has also claimed that decommissioning these two services will allow developers to focus on building Mozilla VPN, Firefox Monitor, and Firefox Private Network.

The organisation cut 250 jobs in August as part of a major restructure to cope with the economic effects of the coronavirus, with executives now seeking ways to expand revenue streams. The advent of Firefox VPN typifies this approach, with the tool being among the first paid-for services launched in recent years.

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