Within the latest nightly build released by Mozilla for their Firefox browser, the age-old favicon used by many sites in their URL’s has been removed and will no longer be supported in the URL address bar within Firefox. The favicon has long been used to provide an extra enhancement to websites allowing them to add a small image to the left side of their website URL.
The reason for the removal of the favicon after all this time, is due to a security issue says Mozilla. After unscrupulous websites have published the favicon as a padlock, making the site look secure to visitors, at first glance. However being far from secure in reality. Mozilla explains:
“Websites that use SSL certificates with Extended Validation will now have a green padlock next to the certificate owner’s organisation name.
Websites that use SSL certificates without Extended Validation will now have a grey padlock. The effective hostname will no longer appear next to the padlock. This information is redundant with our darkening of the effective hostname in the website address.
Websites that do not use SSL certificates or have mixed-content will fallback to a globe icon.”
The favicon is also used in bookmark lists to help users differentiate between different websites. Google removed the favicons from their Chrome browser some time back, but still allows them still to be used in bookmark lists and in the tabs used to separating pages within their browser. Lets hope that Mozilla follows a similar line with Firefox.