Michael Horowitz
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Firefox Send is broken in many ways

September 11, 2019

I so much wanted to like Firefox Send. It seems to be a free, secure way to transfer files, and it comes from a trustworthy company, Mozilla.

But, no.

My adventure started trying to send a file that expired in 7 days (if the recipient had not downloaded it). To do this, you need to create a Firefox Send account. This comes as a surprise to a new user. The home page only says that you need an account to send files up to 2.5GB. You can send files that expire in one day without an account. How big a file can you send without an account? None of your business. Mozilla can't be bothered to explain the basic rules of the road.

Send accounts are standard; an email address and password. The password I chose was a problem. Their system didn't like it and it did not say why. Seeing a pattern?

The password was something like this

  9999sendXXsendXX

where the 9s represent numbers and the Xs represent capital letters. The word "send" was in the middle twice. This password conforms to the rules they display (see Password Strength). But, the actual rules are, again, none of your business.

I guessed that the system objected to the word "send" in the middle, so I removed the letter "e" from each word, leaving

  9999sndXXsndXX

and that got approved. Perhaps they don't like dictionary words in the middle of a password. Perhaps the don't like the word "send" because it is also the name of the service. I would argue that the original password was stronger since it was two characters longer.

Following a standard procedure, Mozilla emails you a link that you have to click to prove that you can get email at the address you provided. I did so, but when I first logged on with my new account, I was presented with the white page shown below.

An igloo in a snow storm
An igloo in a snow storm

After about 30 or 40 seconds, the normal page displayed and I tried to send a file that expired in 7 days and was password protected. Something went wrong. What went wrong? It didn't say (fits the pattern).

Firefox Send - Something always goes wrong
Something always goes wrong

Trying to narrow down the problem, I then sent a small plain text file, expiring in 7 days with no password protection. That failed too.

Up to this point, I had been using Firefox 69 on Windows 7. So, I switched to Windows 10, staying with Firefox 69. Problems followed me to the new computer.

At first, I could not even logon. Again, the only error message was "Something went wrong". No details.

To narrow down the problem, I tried to logon with an invalid password. Finally, I got a specific error message; it complained that the password was wrong.

Next, I tried the Chrome browser on Windows 10. Here I could logon but was greeted again with the white page. For almost a minute. Eventually, the normal page displayed.

I tried to upload a PDF file and send it with a 7 day expiration period. The upload hung at 98% before, again, Something went wrong.

I gave up. Anyone willing to bet that the summer intern in charge of the system went back to school?

 

 

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 michael--at--michaelhorowitz.com   Last Updated: September 11, 2019 10PM UTC  
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