Easy Firefox History Audits
Here's a tool that lets you quickly audit a user's Firefox browsing history.
I read your article "Easy
IE History Audits
" and loved it. That program really works great.
I was wondering if you knew of anything similar for Firefox.
Jim: Firefox uses a different file format than IE
for history data, so as you have discovered the IE history audit tools
are not compatible with Firefox. As of Firefox 2.0, Firefox history files
are written using the Mork
file format. Note that this will eventually change, as work is ongoing
which will write to a more efficient SQLite database. I've always found
Firefox performance to be excellent, but any improvements in speed and
efficiency are always welcome.
To audit Firefox history stored in the current Mork format,
you can use the tool DORK
0.0. This tool is simple to use and does not require an installation.
To use DORK 0.0 to audit Firefox history, follow these steps:
- Download the Dork
History Reader zip file and extract it to a local directory on your
- Copy the Firefox history.dat file of the user that you wish to audit
from the user's profile folder to your system. Note that this file is
located by default in the C:\Documents and Settings\<user name>\Application
Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<Profile Name> folder. For example,
my Firefox history file is saved in the C:\Documents and Settings\cwolf\Application
- With the user's history.dat file saved on your computer, open Windows
Explorer and navigate to the folder where you extracted the dork_history_reader.zip
file. Now double-click on the Dork.exe file.
- The Mozilla HISTORY.DAT Reader window should open. Now just use Windows
Explorer to locate the history.dat file to be audited. Then drag and
drop the file into the Mozilla HISTORY.DAT Reader window.
- The tool will process the history.dat file and create a new file
named history.txt in the same folder as the history.dat file. To view
the user's Firefox browsing history, just open the history.txt file.
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The info that's listed in the history.txt file is well organized.
In it you'll see the following information for each Web site viewed by
- Number of times visited
- Date and time of first access
- Data and time of last access
As I mentioned in my "Easy IE History Audits" article,
localized profile auditing is no replacement for centralized Internet
access auditing using a device such as a proxy server. If you don't have
a proxy server, then users that manually clear browser history should
be a concern. Plenty of work has been done on adding centralized administration
capabilities (including locking Firefox settings) to Firefox. If you're
looking to lock down Firefox preferences so that users don't even have
the option to clear their history, then I suggest you take a look at the
Firefox extension Public
Fox. Centralized Firefox management via a GPO is also available using
the open source tool WetDog.
Since these tools offer the ability to lock down user browser
settings and also audit history files, hopefully these tools will provide
the level of management and auditing that your organization requires.